To evaluate the effect of DNA repair gene XRCC1 polymorphisms on the risk of lung cancer in a northeastern Chinese population, we studied five cSNPs in the XRCC1 gene, three that lead to non-synonymous changes: Arg194Trp, Arg280 His and Arg399Gln and two that lead to synonymous changes: Pro206Pro and Gln632Gln. A hospital-based case-control study consisted of 247 lung cancer cases and 253 cancer-free controls matched on age, gender and ethnicity. PCR-RFLP was used for genotyping. Carriers of the minor G-allele of Pro206Pro were at significantly increased risk of lung cancer (adjusted OR = 1.96, 95% Cl = 1.26-3.06, P= 0.003). Stratified analyses revealed a significantly decreased risk of lung cancer associated with the AG/AA genotype of Arg280His (AG + AA versus GG, OR = 0.38, 95% CI = 0.19-0.75, P= 0.005) among never smokers, although there was no interaction between Arg280His and smoking. In a haplotype analysis, a haplotype defined by Arg194Trp(c)-Pro206Pro(G) -Arg280His(G) -Arg399Gln(G)-Gln632Gln(G) was associated with increased risk of lung cancer (OR = 28.60, 95% Cl = 2.49-331.31, P= 4.45 x 10(-5)). No associations were observed for the other polymorphisms or haplotypes. Our results suggest that the XRCC1 Pro206Pro polymorphism or the haplotype encompassing the minor allele may contribute to genetic susceptibility for lung cancer in this northeastern Chinese population. To our knowledge, this is first report that XRCC1 Pro206Pro influences cancer risk. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.