Cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder, biliary tract and pancreas was studied in the Inuit populations of Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Indirect standardization to the populations in Canada, Connecticut (USA) and Denmark was used. High risk of oesophageal cancer was observed in both sexes with standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of up to 7. An increased risk of colon and rectum cancer occurred among Alaskan Inuit compared with the Inuit populations in Canada and Greenland, which had lower rates. Liver and gallbladder cancer rates were high, with SIRs of 1.5 to 4.1, whereas there were no differences in pancreatic cancer in the populations compared. Dietary habits, alcohol and tobacco consumption are believed to play an important role in most of the observed cancer patterns, but for liver cancer hepatitis B virus infection is also believed to have a causal role.