Barrett’s esophagus (BE) requires surveillance to identify potential neoplasia at early stage. Standard surveillance regimen includes random four-quadrant biopsies by Seattle protocol. Main limitations of random biopsies are high risk of sampling error, difficulties in histology interpretation, common inadequate classification of pathohistological changes, increased risk of bleeding and time necessary to acquire the final diagnosis. Probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy (pCLE) has emerged as a potential tool with an aim to overcome these obvious limitations.
pCLE represents real-time microscopic imaging method that offers evaluation of epithelial and subepithelial structures with 1000-fold magnification. In theory, pCLE has potential to eliminate the need for biopsy in BE patient. The main advantages would be real-time diagnosis and decision making, greater diagnostic accuracy and to evaluate larger area compared to random biopsies. Clinical pCLE studies in esophagus show high diagnostic accuracy and its high negative predictive value offers high reliability and confidence to exclude dysplastic and neoplastic lesions. However, it still cannot replace histopathology due to lower positive predictive value and sensitivity. Key messages: Despite promising results, its role in routine use in patients with Barrett’s esophagus remains questionable primarily due to lack of well-organized double-blind randomized trials.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.