The literature relating to human leucocyte antigens (HLA) and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) identifies conflicting ranges of possible allelic associations. We aimed to clarify this by conducting a systematic review to identify and quantify associations present across all of the available studies. A literature search was performed and, subsequently, a meta-analysis was performed on 13 published studies using both fixed-effects and random-effects models when appropriate. Evidence for positive associations between NPC and the HLA alleles A2, B14 and B46 (P = 1.57 x 10-5, 1.13 x 10-3 and 6.38 x 10-5 respectively) were found, and negative associations were identified for the alleles A11, B13 and B22 (P = 5.42 x 10-3, 0.017 and 0.009). Whereas an association between HLA-B13 or B22 and NPC has not been noted previously, the results for HLA-A2, A11, B14 and B46 are in accordance with published studies. There is evidence that specific allele subtypes or combinations of alleles may carry particular risk for NPC.