Background: Computer-aided detection (CADe) techniques based on artificial intelligence algorithms can assist endoscopists in detecting colorectal neoplasia. CADe has been associated with an increased adenoma detection rate, a key quality indicator, but the utility of CADe compared with existing advanced imaging techniques and distal attachment devices is unclear. Methods: For this systematic review and network meta-analysis, we did a comprehensive search of PubMed/Medline, Embase, and Scopus databases from inception to Nov 30, 2020, for randomised controlled trials investigating the effectiveness of the following endoscopic techniques in detecting colorectal neoplasia: CADe, high definition (HD) white-light endoscopy, chromoendoscopy, or add-on devices (ie, systems that increase mucosal visualisation, such as full spectrum endoscopy [FUSE] or G-EYE balloon endoscopy). We collected data on adenoma detection rates, sessile serrated lesion detection rates, the proportion of large adenomas detected per colonoscopy, and withdrawal times. A frequentist framework, random-effects network meta-analysis was done to compare artificial intelligence with chromoendoscopy, increased mucosal visualisation systems, and HD white-light endoscopy (the control group). We estimated odds ratios (ORs) for the adenoma detection rate, sessile serrated lesion detection rate, and proportion of large adenomas detected per colonoscopy, and calculated mean differences for withdrawal time, with 95% CIs. Risk of bias and certainty of evidence were assessed with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Findings: 50 randomised controlled trials, comprising 34 445 participants, were included in our main analysis (six trials of CADe, 18 of chromoendoscopy, and 26 of increased mucosal visualisation systems). HD white-light endoscopy was the control technique in all 50 studies. Compared with the control technique, the adenoma detection rate was 7·4% higher with CADe (OR 1·78 [95% CI 1·44–2·18]), 4·4% higher with chromoendoscopy (1·22 [1·08–1·39]), and 4·1% higher with increased mucosal visualisation systems (1·16 [1·04–1·28]). CADe ranked as the superior technique for adenoma detection (with moderate confidence in hierarchical ranking); cross-comparisons of CADe with other imaging techniques showed a significant increase in the adenoma detection rate with CADe versus increased mucosal visualisation systems (OR 1·54 [95% CI 1·22–1·94]; low certainty of evidence) and with CADe versus chromoendoscopy (1·45 [1·14–1·85]; moderate certainty of evidence). When focusing on large adenomas (≥10 mm) there was a significant increase in the detection of large adenomas only with CADe (OR 1·69 [95% CI 1·10–2·60], moderate certainty of evidence) when compared to HD white-light endoscopy; CADe ranked as the superior strategy for detection of large adenomas. CADe also seemed to be the superior strategy for detection of sessile serrated lesions (with moderate confidence in hierarchical ranking), although no significant increase in the sessile serrated lesion detection rate was shown (OR 1·37 [95% CI 0·65–2·88]). No significant difference in withdrawal time was reported for CADe compared with the other techniques. Interpretation: Based on the published literature, detection rates of colorectal neoplasia are higher with CADe than with other techniques such as chromoendoscopy or tools that increase mucosal visualisation, supporting wider incorporation of CADe strategies into community endoscopy services. Funding: None.
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