Published online Oct 21, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i39.5959
Peer-review started: July 16, 2020
First decision: August 8, 2020
Revised: August 22, 2020
Accepted: September 4, 2020
Article in press: September 4, 2020
Published online: October 21, 2020
Due to the rapid progression and poor prognosis of esophageal cancer (EC), the early detection and diagnosis of early EC are of great value for the prognosis improvement of patients. However, the endoscopic detection of early EC, especially Barrett's dysplasia or squamous epithelial dysplasia, is difficult. Therefore, the requirement for more efficient methods of detection and characterization of early EC has led to intensive research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Deep learning (DL) has brought about breakthroughs in processing images, videos, and other aspects, whereas convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have shone lights on detection of endoscopic images and videos. Many studies on CNNs in endoscopic analysis of early EC demonstrate excellent performance including sensitivity and specificity and progress gradually from in vitro image analysis for classification to real-time detection of early esophageal neoplasia. When AI technique comes to the pathological diagnosis, borderline lesions that are difficult to determine may become easier than before. In gene diagnosis, due to the lack of tissue specificity of gene diagnostic markers, they can only be used as supplementary measures at present. In predicting the risk of cancer, there is still a lack of prospective clinical research to confirm the accuracy of the risk stratification model.
Core Tip: The requirement for more efficient methods of detection and characterization of early esophageal cancer (EC) has led to intensive research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Thus, application of AI technique in endoscopic detection of early EC is reviewed intensively. Furthermore, pathological and gene diagnosis for early EC as well as its risk stratification is also commented.