Background. Using a novel autofluorescence imaging video endoscopy system (AFI), tumors in the esophagus and the colon appeared purple in a green background, but the color patterns of early gastric cancer (EGC) were found to vary. Factors associated with these patterns remain unknown. The aims of the present study were to classify the color patterns of EGCs and to investigate the correlation between the patterns and clinicopathological features. Methods. A total of 107 EGCs that had been evaluated by AFI endoscopy, prior to endoscopic or surgical resection, were included. The color patterns of EGCs in AFI images and the association between tumor color and clinicopathological factors were evaluated. These factors included tumor morphology, location, size, background color, histological type, depth of invasion, lymphatic or vessel permeation, and ulceration. Results. The color patterns of EGCs were classified into the following four groups: purple tumors in a green background (52%); green tumors with a purple margin in a green background (21%); green tumors in a purple background (17%); and purple tumors in a purple background (10%). Univariate analysis showed that macroscopic type, histological type, ulceration, and background AFI color were significantly associated with tumor color, whereas multivariate analysis revealed that macroscopic type was the only independent contributor to tumor color. Conclusion. The present study has enabled a clearer understanding of the significance of tumor color in relation to the AFI imaging of EGCs. Recognition of the color patterns in AFI images should help in the diagnosis of EGCs.
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