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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 13, Issue 5, Pages 417-421

Is Light-Induced Fluorescence Better Than the Endoscopist’s Eye?

Norman E Marcon

Division of Gastroenterology, The Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy and Endoscopic Oncology, Wellesley Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


While recognizing advanced tumours with endoscopy does not generally pose a challenge, cure rates are relatively low, depending on the size and stage of the tumour. Screening tests for cancer are advantageous for diagnosing cancers before the date after which a cure is no longer an option. Many gastrointestinal cancers are diagnosed after the date on which a cure is possible. The present article discusses some of the limitations of conventional white light endoscopy in screening and presents some of the fluorescent-based diagnostics that are being investigated as complements to white light endoscopy. Autofluorescence and fluorescence due to exogenous photosensitizers or precursors are two sources of fluorescence that are being studied. Preliminary results of current investigations are presented, and future research directions are described.