Several in vitro studies have demonstrated that genetic polymorphisms result in functionally significant changes in cytochrome p4501A1 (either CYP1A1 MspI or exon 7) but the few epidemiologic studies of these polymorphisms in oesophageal squamous-cell carcinoma have been inconclusive. These inconclusive results motivated us to further examine the relationship between CYP1A1 MspI and exon 7 polymorphisms and risk of oesophageal cancer. In total, 146 cases of oesophageal squamous-cell-carcinoma and 324 control cases (a total of 470 cases) were genotyped from records at three Taiwan hospitals. No significant association was noted for the CYP1A1 MspI polymorphism variable between carcinoma and control cases. In contrast, the frequency of Ile/Ile, Ile/Val, and Val/Val in exon 7 was 68 (46.6%), 62 (42.5%), and 16 (11.0%) in carcinoma cases and 179 (55.3%), 127 (39.2%), and 18 (5.6%) in control cases, respectively. After factoring out other potential contributing factors, patients with Val/Val showed a 2.48 (95% CT=1.15-5.34) greater risk of developing oesophageal cancer than those with Ile/Ile. A slightly (albeit not significantly) greater risk was identified in subjects with Ile/Val (OR=1.34; 95% CI=0.86-2.07). These findings suggest that an exon 7 polymorphism, not a MspI polymorphism, in CYP1A1 may be pivotal in the development of oesophageal cancer.