Tobacco smoking is the main risk factor for lung cancer. Only 10-15% of smokers develop lung cancer, suggesting that genetic factors are of importance in determining individual susceptibility to the disease. Several studies in recent years indicate that chronic inflammation is a cofactor in lung carcinogenesis. We have previously reported an association of interleukin 1 beta gene (IL1B) polymorphisms with lung cancer risk. Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) has been implicated in carcinogenesis of different cancer types. IL-1Ra binds competitively to the same membrane receptor as interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and thereby acts as an antagonist to the pro-inflammatory actions of IL-1beta. The aim of the study was to examine whether a common VNTR polymorphism in the interleukin 1 receptor antagonist gene (IL1RN) is associated with lung cancer risk. Due to the tight relationship between IL1RN and IL1B, we also explored the possibility of an interaction between the two genes. The study population comprised of 340 non-small cell lung cancer cases and 412 healthy controls of Norwegian origin. Our results indicate that individuals homozygous for the IL1RN*1 allele and carrying the IL1B-31T allele had increased risk of non-small cell lung cancer (odds ratio C/T 3.08; 1.10-8.62 and T/T 5.87; 2.15-16.05). Furthermore, IL1RN*1 carriers had nearly two-fold higher levels of bulky/hydrophobic DNA adducts in the lung. Our findings support the significance of IL1 gene cluster polymorphisms and risk of lung cancer.