Background The hOGG1 Ser326Cys polymorphism is associated with lung cancer risk, but there are limited data regarding an association between the APE1 Asp148Glu polymorphism and lung cancer. Biological evidence shows that the hOGG1-Cys allele results in less DNA repair activity; however, this is not associated with p53 mutation in lung cancer. Therefore, we investigated whether an interaction between hOGG1 and APE1 is associated with the frequency of p53 mutation in lung cancer. Methods We studied 217 Taiwanese adults with primary lung cancer. DNA polymorphisms of hOGG1 and APE1 were determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based restriction fragment length polymorphism. Mutations in p53 exons 5–8 were detected by direct sequencing. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs for the risk of p53 mutation associated with polymorphisms of hOGG1 and APE1 in lung cancer. Results As expected, no association between hOGG1 polymorphism and p53 mutation was observed in this population. However, a higher risk of p53 mutation was found in participants with the APE1 Asp/Asp genotype than in those with the APE1-Glu allele (OR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.19–3.87; P = 0.011). The risk of p53 mutation was also higher in participants with APE1 Asp/Asp plus hOGG1-Cys than in those with APE1-Glu plus hOGG1 Ser/Ser (OR, 3.72; 95% CI, 1.33–10.40; P = 0.012). Conclusions These results suggest that the APE1 Asp/Asp genotype and the combination of the APE1 Asp/Asp and hOGG1-Cys variants are associated with increased risk of p53 mutation in non–small cell lung cancer.