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Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is characterized by the presence of premalignant adenomas of the large and small bowel. Prophylactic colectomy deals with the risk for colon cancer, leaving duodenal cancer as the leading cause of death. Although most FAP patients have duodenal adenomas, only approximately 5% develop duodenal cancer. This study looks at progression of duodenal polyps with time. The outcome of endoscopic surveillance in the duodenum of 70 patients with familial adenomatous polyposis was determined. A mean of 40 months elapsed between endoscopies. Outcome was measured using video comparison and a staging system that includes histological assessment. Duodenal cancer developed in one patient, and was suspected in two others. The stage of duodenal polyposis worsened in another seven patients. When histology was ignored, comparison of video recordings in 52 patients showed a worsening in 21 (40%). In conclusion, further surveillance appears warranted so that patients at high risk for duodenal cancer might receive early treatment. Should slow progression of duodenal polyposis be shown to be associated with low risk, then most patients can be safely offered less frequent endoscopies than hitherto.