Polymorphisms in the XPD and the XPC gene have been associated with a lower DNA repair capacity. We determined the risk of colorectal cancer in association with the four polymorphisms XPA A23G, XPC Lys939Gln, XPD Lys751Gln and XPD Asp312Asn, and interactions between the polymorphisms and the environmental factors: smoking intensity, intake of alcohol, red meat, processed meat, fish and poultry, fruits and vegetables and dietary fibres, in relation to development of colorectal cancer in a study population of 405 colorectal cancer cases and a comparison group of 810 persons, nested within the Danish prospective cohort, Diet, Cancer and Health, of 57 053 cohort members. No association was found between the XPC Lys939Gln, XPA A23G, XPD Lys751Gln, and XPD Asp312Asn polymorphisms and risk of colorectal cancer. The association of the XPD Lys751Gln polymorphism was statistically significantly different between genders, with a lower risk of colorectal cancer among women carrying the variant allele. We observed a statistically significant interaction between the XPC Lys939GIn polymorphism and consumption of red meat, with a 3.7-fold increase in colorectal cancer risk per 100g red meat intake per day among carriers of the homozygous variant, but virtually no effect of red meat intake among carriers of the wild type allele. In the light of the multiple comparisons being made, this result may be a chance finding. The results showed no interaction between the XPD Lys751Gln, XPA A23G, and XPD Asp312Asn polymorphisms and the environmental factors for the development of colorectal cancer. Overall, the results of the present study indicate that the four polymorphisms are not of major importance in colorectal cancer carcinogenesis. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.