To investigate a possible relationship between bile acids and colorectal neoplasia duodenal bile acids were analysed in 50 patients with colorectal adenomas and 14 with carcinoma. Using gas liquid and high performance liquid chromatography a small, but significant increase in the proportion of chenodeoxycholic acid was found in the bile of adenoma patients compared with controls (mean % +/- SD 31.0 +/- 10.8, 26.4 +/- 8.3, p = 0.01). The difference in the proportions of chenodeoxycholic acid correlated with increasing malignant potential of the adenomas as determined by increasing size, histological type, degree of dysplasia and number present. In carcinoma patients an increase in the proportion of chenodeoxycholic acid was also observed compared with controls (mean % +/- SD, 47.2 +/- 9.6, 28.0 +/- 4.5, p less than 0.01). The proportions of other bile acids in those with adenoma or carcinoma were normal.
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