Abstract DNA repair gene alterations have been shown to cause a reduction in DNA repair capacity and may influence an individual’s susceptibility to carcinogenesis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of DNA repair genes have been shown to cause a reduction in repair activity. We hypothesized that SNPs of DNA repair genes may be a risk factor for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). To test this hypothesis, DNA samples from 112 cases of renal cell cancer and healthy controls ( n = 180) were analyzed by PCR-RFLP to determine the genotypic frequency of six different polymorphic loci on five DNA repair genes ( XRCC1, XPC, ERCC1, XRCC3, and XRCC7). The χ 2 test was applied to compare the genotype frequency between patients and controls. We found that the frequency of 399Gln variant at XRCC1 Arg399Gln was significantly higher in RCC cases than in controls (OR = 2.83, 95%CI = 1.24–6.49, P = 0.01). The frequency of T–A haplotype of XRCC1 194 Trp and XRCC1 399Gln was significantly higher in RCC than controls. No differences in genotypes were observed at the other sites. This is the first report on SNPs of DNA repair genes in renal cell carcinoma that suggests XRCC1 399Gln polymorphism may be a risk factor for RCC. Our present data suggest that the XRCC1 399Gln allele may be linked to susceptibility for RCC.