Although conventional colonoscopy is the most accurate test available for the investigation of the colorectum for polyps, data exist that raise concerns about its sensitivity. Chromoscopy (spraying dye onto the surface of the colon to make polyps more visible) may be one way of enhancing the ability of colonoscopy to detect polyps, particularly diminutive flat lesions, which otherwise may be difficult to detect.
To determine whether the use of chromoscopy enhances the detection of polyps and neoplasia during endoscopic examination of the colon and rectum.
We searched the following databases: Cochrane Colorectal Cancer Group Specialised Register (October 2015), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Cochrane Library; Issue 10, 2015), MEDLINE (January 1950 to October 2015), EMBASE (January 1974 to October 2015), and ClinicalTrials.gov and World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (both November 2015). We also handsearched abstracts from relevant meetings from 1980 to 2015. Search terms included 'randomised trials' containing combinations of the following: 'chromoscopy' 'colonoscopy' 'dye-spray' 'chromo-endoscopy' 'indigo-carmine' 'magnifying endoscopy'.
We included all prospective randomised trials comparing chromoscopic with conventional endoscopic examination of the whole of the colon and rectum. We excluded studies of people with inflammatory bowel disease or polyposis syndromes and any studies that combined chromoscopy with additional interventions (cap assistance, water-perfused, etc.).
Two review authors independently assessed the methodological quality of potentially eligible trials, and two review authors independently extracted data from the included trials. Outcome measures included the detection of polyps (neoplastic and non-neoplastic), the detection of diminutive lesions, the number of participants with multiple neoplastic lesions, and the extubation time.
We included seven trials (2727 participants) in this update. Five trials were of sufficiently similar design to allow for pooled results. Two trials differed substantially in design and were included in a subgroup analysis. All the trials had some methodological drawbacks. However, combining the results showed a significant difference in favour of chromoscopy for all detection outcomes. In particular, chromoscopy was likely to yield significantly more people with at least one neoplastic lesion (odds ratio (OR) 1.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.31 to 1.79; 7 trials; 2727 participants), and at least one diminutive neoplastic lesion (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.92; 4 trials; 1757 participants). Significantly more people with three or more neoplastic lesions were also detected, but only when studies that used high-definition colonoscopy in the control group were excluded (OR 4.63, 95% CI 1.99 to 10.80; 2 trials; 519 participants). None of the included studies reported any adverse events related to the use of the contrast dye.
There is strong evidence that chromoscopy enhances the detection of neoplasia in the colon and rectum. People with neoplastic polyps, particularly those with multiple polyps, are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Such lesions, which presumably would be missed with conventional colonoscopy, could contribute to the interval cancer numbers on any surveillance programme.