Early detection is crucial in the prevention of colorectal cancer (CRC) deaths. The earliest detectable neoplastic lesion in the colon is the aberrant crypt foci (ACF). A major question is whether ACF are precursors of CRC, and thus, early biomarkers for CRC risk. If so, we hypothesized that the number of ACF would be higher in patients who had a family history of CRC compared to patients without. We counted ACF in the distal 20cm of colon/rectum during 103 colonoscopic examinations using a prototype Close Focus Colonoscope (Olympus Corp.) with methylene blue chromendoscopy. Each patient was asked whether they had a family history of CRC in a first degree relative, or a personal history of CRC or adenoma. Patients answering 'no' to these questions (n=17) had a mean number of ACF of 4.4; the mean was significantly higher in the patients with a positive family history of CRC (9.0, p<0.01; n=43) or a personal history of advanced adenoma (7.5, p<0.05; n=34).