Optimal band imaging detects early gastric cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

A new study has shown that a technique designed to enhance images obtained during endoscopy could help to diagnose early gastric (stomach) cancer.

Survival rates for gastric cancer increase by nearly 90 per cent if the disease is caught early on, highlighting the importance of early diagnosis.

Scientists at the Jichi Medical University in Japan have found that optimal band imaging (OBI) - which was developed to enhance the patterns of lesions in endoscopic images - can be used to clearly identify a form of the disease called 'depressed-type' early gastric cancer, which is particularly difficult to spot as it appears as subtle changes in colour and shape.

Researchers used OBI on 27 patients who had been diagnosed with depressed-type early gastric cancer.

The ample light intensity of the technique allowed the scientists to observe the entire stomach without magnification and easily enabled them to identify 26 of the 27 cases of gastric cancer.

The images showed a clear contrast between the reddish cancerous areas and the yellowish areas of healthy stomach lining, and even medical students without much endoscopy experience were able to identify the edges of cancerous lesions.

Lead author Dr Hiroyuki Osawa said that the study, which is published in the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, is the first to report optimal band images for early gastric cancer.

He confirmed: "In our comparative study, the optimal band imaging system with endoscopy showed contrasting images that could delineate the depressed-type early gastric cancers more easily than conventional endoscopy."