An association between colorectal cancer and previous peptic ulcer surgery is reported. In a prospective screening study, 100 asymptomatic patients (80 men and 20 women) who had undergone truncal vagotomy at least 10 years previously were investigated by barium enema, colonoscopy and gallbladder ultrasonography. Control data were obtained from forensic autopsy subjects. The incidence of neoplasms greater than or equal to 1.0 cm in the vagotomized group was 14 per cent (11 adenomas, 3 carcinomas) and 3 per cent in controls (P = 0.01). Duodenal bile obtained at endoscopy from 21 vagotomized patients with normal gallbladders and from 21 control patients undergoing endoscopy was analysed by high performance liquid chromatography. The mean percentage of cholic (CA), chenodeoxycholic (CDCA), deoxycholic (DCA) and lithocholic (LCA) acids in the bile of vagotomized patients was 32.3, 45.6, 20.7 and 1.4 per cent respectively compared with 45.3, 36.2, 17.9 and 0.7 per cent respectively in controls. The increased proportions of CDCA and LCA and decreased proportions of CA in the duodenal bile of vagotomized patients were significant (P less than 0.001; P = 0.02; P = 0.007). Abnormalities in bile acid metabolism may help to explain the increased risk of colorectal neoplasia 10 years after truncal vagotomy.