Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Taiwan. Potential molecular markers associated with cancer susceptibility and prognosis are the genes involved in tumorigenesis. Therefore, we investigated the association of p53 codon 72 polymorphism with prognosis in 114 lung cancer patients. The estimated median survival times for patients with proline (Pro)/Pro, arginine (Arg)/Arg, and Arg/Pro genotypes were 25, 26 and 36 months, respectively. We also found that patients with the Pro/Pro genotype had a worse prognosis compared with those with Arg/Pro genotypes, especially for patients with squamous cell lung cancer (P = 0.013), male patients (P = 0.028) and those aged 60-69 years (P = 0.052). In patients with early stage lung cancer, patients with Pro/Pro and Arg/Arg genotypes had a tendency for a worse prognosis than those with the Arg/Pro genotype (P = 0.057). Our data suggest that p53 codon 72 polymorphism may be a potential prognostic factor in certain sub groups of lung cancer patients in Taiwan.