Prior studies have suggested that the incidence of some neoplastic disorders, particularly malignant lymphoma and small intestinal adenocarcinoma, are increased in celiac disease. Earlier studies from the United Kingdom have also suggested a link between celiac disease and esophageal carcinoma, although this has not been confirmed in North America. The risk of other gastrointestinal cancers seems to be limited. Gastric cancer does not appear to be detected more frequently, although direct endoscopic visualization of the upper gastrointestinal tract is now very common in patients with celiac disease. Colon cancer also appears to be limited in celiac disease, even in patients first diagnosed with celiac disease late in life. This has led to the hypothesis that untreated celiac disease may be protective, possibly owing to impaired absorption of fat or fat-soluble agents, including hydrocarbons and putative co-carcinogens implicated in the pathogenesis of colon cancer, which may be poorly absorbed and rapidly excreted.