The complement system plays an important role in inflammatory and immune responses, and recent evidence has suggested that it may also play a role in lymphomagenesis. We evaluated the association between genetic variation in complement system genes and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in a population-based case–control study conducted among women in Connecticut. Tag SNPs in 30 complement genes were genotyped in 432 Caucasian incident cases and 494 frequency-matched controls. A gene-based analysis that adjusted for the number of tag SNPs genotyped in each gene showed a significant association with NHL overall (P = 0.04) as well as with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) (P = 0.01) for the C1RL gene. A SNP-based analysis showed that a C>T base substitution for C1RL rs3813729 (odds ratio (OR)CT = 0.60, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.42–0.87, Ptrend = 0.0062) was associated with a decreased risk of overall NHL, as well as for DLBCL (ORCT = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.20–0.73; Ptrend = 0.0034). Additionally, SNPs (C2 rs497309, A>C and C3 rs344550, G>C) in two complement genes were positively associated with marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) and C1QG was associated with CLL/SLL, but these results were based on a limited number of cases. Our results suggest a potential role of the complement system in susceptibility to NHL; however, our results should be viewed as exploratory and further replication is needed to clarify these preliminary findings. Environ. Mol. Mutagen., 2012. Published 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.