It is well known that the risk of development of gastric cancer (GC) in Helicobacter pylori-infected patients depends on several factors. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of proinflammatory cytokine gene polymorphisms for IL-1β, IL-1RN and TNF-α on the development of GC in a Brazilian population. A total of 202 biopsies obtained from Brazilian patients with chronic gastritis and GC were included in the study. Infection with H. pylori cagA+ was determined by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as previously described. IL-1β, IL-1RN and TNF-α polymorphism genotyping was performed by restriction fragment length polymorphism PCR. Associations between gene polymorphisms, clinical diseases and virulence markers were evaluated using either the χ² test or the Fisher exact test. Our results demonstrated that the IL-1β -511 C/C and IL-1β -511 C/T alleles were associated with chronic gastritis in H. pylori-positive patients (P = 0.04 and P = 0.05, respectively) and the IL-1β -511 C/C genotype was associated with GC (P = 0.03). The frequency of IL-1RN alleles from patients with chronic gastritis and GC indicated that there was no difference between the genotypes of the groups studied. Similar results were found for TNF-α -308 gene polymorphisms. Our results indicate that the IL-1β -511 C/C and C/T gene polymorphisms are associated with chronic gastritis and GC development in H. pylori-infected individuals.