Background: Survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, functions as a key regulator of apoptosis and cell cycle regulation. A common single nucleotide polymorphism (-31G>C) at the survivin promoter has been extensively studied in various cancers and reported to influence survivin expression, but its association with hepatocellular carinoma (HCC) has yet to be investigated. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether this polymorphism could be involved in the risk of HCC susceptibilty. Methods: The genotype frequency of survivin -31G>C polymorphism was determined by using a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method in 160 subjects with HCC and 241 cancer-free control subjects matched on age, gender, smoking and alcohol status. Results: No statistically significant differences were found in the genotype distributions of the survivin -31G>C polymorphism among HCC and cancer-free control subjects (p = 0.28). Conclusion: Our results demonstrate for the first time that the survivin -31G/C polymorphism have not been any major role in genetic susceptibilty to hepatocellular carcinogenesis, at least in the population studied here. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.