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The cytokine interleukin 8 (IL-8) may play a role in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer through the modulation of tumour immune response or enhanced angiogenesis. A common polymorphism of the IL-8 (–251) gene, which may affect the production level of the cytokine, has been inversely associated with a number of diseases, including prostate cancer. We examined the most representative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for the IL-8 and its receptors (CXCR1 and CXCR2) genes, and conducted a case–control study nested within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study to examine if these SNPs are associated with susceptibility to and prognosis of prostate cancer. Using incidence density sampling, 584 cases of primary prostate cancer and 584 matched controls were selected. In this population, we observed no strong association between the SNPs for IL-8 –251 (A→T), CXCR1 +860 (C→G) and CXCR2 –1010 (A→G) and either the subsequent risk of prostate cancer or individual prognostic factors among cases. Although none of the SNPs studied are likely to have major effects on prostate cancer susceptibility, a role for other polymorphisms associated within these genes cannot be excluded.