The present study has demonstrated the influence of bile acids (BAs) on the development and growth of azoxymethane (AOM)-induced aberrant crypt foci (ACF). Male F344 rats were treated with two doses of AOM (15 mg/kg) at 7 days apart and fed either basal MF or MF plus 0.4% of cholic (CA), deoxycholic (DCA), chenodeoxycholic (CDCA), lithocholic (LCA) and ursodeoxycholic (UDCA) acid mixed diets for 8 weeks after the first AOM dose. The mean number of ACF/colon of the rats fed CA, DCA, CDCA and LCA were higher than that of MF-fed group and the differences were statistically significant (P < 0.005). But the mean number of ACFs/colon was significantly (P < 0.005) lower in UDCA diet-fed rats compared to MF. UDCA-fed rats also showed a significant decrease in average crypt multiplicity (number of crypts/focus) of ACF compared to MF alone. The mean number of ACF with > or =5 crypts was about 2.5-3.7 times higher in case of CA, DCA, CDCA and LCA and about 8.2 times lower in UDCA compared to the control MF diet group. In a parallel study, feeding for 18 weeks of the same BAs mixed diets without AOM administration did not significantly induce ACF. Therefore, these data suggest that dietary BAs by themselves do not induce ACF in F344 rats but enhance or, in the case of UDCA, suppress the development and growth of AOM-induced ACF.