Repeat length of the CAG microsatellite polymorphism in exon 1 of the androgen receptor (AR) gene has been associated with risk of prostate cancer in humans. This association has been the focus of >20 primary epidemiological publications and multiple review articles, but a consistent and reproducible association has yet to be confirmed. We systematically addressed possible causes of false-negative and false-positive association in >4,000 individuals from a multiethnic, prospective cohort study of prostate cancer, comprehensively studying genetic variation by microsatellite genotyping, direct resequencing of exons in advanced cancer cases, and haplotype analysis across the 180-kb AR genomic locus. These data failed to confirm that common genetic variation in the AR gene locus influences risk of prostate cancer. A systematic approach that assesses both coding and noncoding genetic variation in large and diverse patient samples can help clarify hypotheses about association between genetic variants and disease.