The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects on the susceptibility to colorectal cancer (CRC) of genetic polymorphisms in P-glycoprotein (PGP) and the metabolic enzymes cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) and flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 (FMO3). We analyzed five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in 93 cancer-free volunteers and 111 patients with CRC: one common genetic variant of the PGP-encoding MDR1 gene and four SNP in genes for metabolic enzymes (two SNP in FMO3 and two SNP in CYP1A2). The genotypes and allele frequencies of the MDR1/C3435T, FMO3/G488A, FMO3/A923G and CYP1A2/G-3860 A polymorphisms were not significantly different in cancer-free subjects and CRC patients. However, a significant association was found between the CYP1A2/A-163C polymorphism and the risk of CRC, particularly in elderly (>55 years) subjects and smokers. A phenotyping study in normal smokers showed that the CYP1A2 activity of subjects with the CYP1A2/-163 AA genotype was significantly lower than that of subjects carrying the CYP1A2/-163C allele. Combined results show that the CYP1A2/-163C allele is significantly associated with an increase in CYP1A2 activity and a consequent increased risk of CRC in Koreans, particularly in elderly people and smokers.