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Bile has been implicated in the pathogenesis of duodenal polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. In vitro experiments have shown that familial adenomatous polyposis bile is capable of producing DNA adducts. This effect can be ameliorated by increasing the pH of the incubate. The aim of this double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial was to examine the effect of oral ranitidine on duodenal polyposis in a group of patients with familial adenomatous polyposis.Twenty-six patients with familial adenomatous polyposis were randomly assigned to ranitidine 300 mg daily or placebo for six months after baseline endoscopy. Polyp counts were performed and biopsy specimens taken to detect DNA adducts by32P-postlabeling.No difference was seen in polyp numbers (P =0.9) or relative adduct labeling (P =0.7) after treatment with ranitidine or placebo.Acid suppression therapy does not seem to improve duodenal polyposis despite in vitro findings. On the other hand, ranitidine does not exacerbate actual (or markers of) neoplasia in this highly tumor-prone condition.