Background: Since genetic factors may play an important role in lung cancer development at low dose carcinogen exposure, non-smokers are a good model to study genetic susceptibility and its interaction with environmental factors. Materials and methods: We evaluated the role of the metabolic gene polymorphisms CYP1A1MspI, CYP1A1Ile462Val, GSTM1, and GSTT1 in non-smoker lung cancer patients from the International Collaborative Study on Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Carcinogens (GSEC). Non-smokers (defined as subjects who never smoked on a regular basis) were selected from the GSEC database. We pooled the raw data from 21 case-control studies for a total of 2764 Caucasians (555 cases and 2209 controls) and 383 Asians (113 cases and 270 controls). Tests of heterogeneity and of inclusion bias were performed. Results: A significant association between lung cancer and CYP1A1Ile462Val polymorphism was observed in Caucasians (adjusted OR = 2.04, 95% CI 1.17-3.54). GSTT1 deletion seems to be a risk factor for lung cancer in Caucasian non smokers only when the analysis was restricted to studies including healthy controls (adjusted OR = 1.66, 95% CI 1.12-2.46). A protective effect on lung cancer was observed with the combination of CYP1A1 wild type, GSTM1 null, and GSTT1 non-null genotypes. None of the analysed polymorphisms were associated with lung cancer in Asian non-smokers. Discussion: Our analysis confirms previous findings that CYP1A1Ile462Val polymorphism may play a role in lung carcinogenesis in Caucasian non-smokers. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.