Body fatness is a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and promotes an inflammatory environment. Indeed, inflammation in normal colorectal mucosa may be a factor linking body fatness to colorectal carcinogenesis. In this study, we evaluated myeloperoxidase (MPO)-positive cells infiltration of normal colorectal mucosa as a marker of cancer-promoting inflammation in overweight and obese subjects. One hundred and three subjects with normal colonoscopy entered the study. Waist circumference (WC) and body mass index (BMI) were measured, and MPO-positive cells on histological sections of biopsies of normal colorectal mucosa were counted under a light microscope. The occurrence of adenomas was then evaluated on follow-up colonoscopies. Mean MPO-positive cell count (± s.e.m.) was higher in subject with a WC equal or above the obesity cutoff values according to gender (2.63±0.20 vs 2.06 ± 0.18, P = 0.03), and in subjects with BMI equal or above 25 kg m-2 (2.54 ± 0.18 vs 1.97 ± 0.20, P = 0.03). A Cox proportional hazard model showed that mean MPO-positive cell count in normal colorectal mucosa was the only factor independently related to occurrence of adenomas in follow-up colonoscopies. Though preliminary, these results show that MPO-positive cell infiltration in normal colorectal mucosa is related with body fatness, as evaluated by WC and BMI, and it may be considered a useful and simple marker to estimate adenoma occurrence risk.