Higher ascorbic acid consumption is associated with a reduced risk of gastric cancer in numerous epidemiologic studies. We investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SLC23A1 and SLC23A2--genes that encode key ascorbic acid transport proteins--affect gastric cancer risk in 279 incident cases and 414 age- and gender-matched controls drawn from a population-based case-control study in Poland. Compared to subjects who were homozygous for the common G allele of the SLC23A2 SNP rs12479919, carriers of the AA genotype had a 41% lower risk of gastric cancer [odds ratio (OR)=0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.36-0.95; P trend=0.06]. A haplotype that contained the common allele of the rs6139591, rs2681116 and rs14147458 SNPs in SLC23A2 was also significantly inversely associated with gastric malignancy. No other polymorphisms in either gene were related to risk, and there was no effect modification by ascorbic acid intake. These findings suggest that genetic variation in SLC23A2 impacts gastric cancer risk, although confirmation in other studies is required.