We have investigated whether the -86 C/T promoter polymorphism in CHRNA7 gene, the signal peptide polymorphism of the alpha1-antichymotripsin (ACT) gene or the APOE genotype are associated with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or affect the risk of evolution to Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have followed up 89 patients with initial diagnoses of amnestic MCI for 49 months. Patients were separated into three groups: 27 subjects who remained with MCI, 40 that converted to AD before 20 months and 22 that converted to AD after. To assess the risk associated to each genotype a control group (n=90) without cognitive impairment was included. APOE4 allele was associated with an increased risk of MCI (OR: 6.04, 95% CI: 2.76-3.23; p<0.001) but did not have an effect on the probability of evolving AD. ACT or CHRNA7 genotypes were not associated with MCI but both appear to modify the risk of progression to dementia in opposing manners: ACT polymorphism increasing the risk to evolve to AD before 20 months (HR=2.03; 95% CI: 1-4.6; p=0.06) and CHRNA7 polymorphism protecting from evolution to dementia. Cox regression model demonstrated that ACT genotype confers a higher risk of rapid evolution to dementia than age or years of schooling. We conclude that APOE is a risk gene for amnestic MCI and that ACT and CHRNA7 may act in these patients as modifier genes for the time of progression to AD.