We investigated the genetic polymorphisms of CYP1A1, CYP2E1 and GSTM1 in Japanese esophageal cancer patients (n = 53) with a histological diagnosis of squamous-cell carcinoma, to determine whether susceptibility to esophageal cancer is associated with these polymorphisms. There were no significant differences in the frequency distribution of any one of the 3 polymorphisms between esophageal cancer patients and 132 healthy Japanese controls. The genotype distributions in tobacco smokers or alcohol drinkers were also quite similar for male patients and male controls. The age at onset of esophageal cancer was also similar for patients with any genotype of the 3 polymorphisms. We conclude that the 3 polymorphisms are unlikely to be associated with esophageal cancer susceptibility.