The aim of this study was to assess the significance of the interleukin 6 gene polymorphism -174 in gastric cancer risk. The interleukin 6 -174 G/C (rs1800795) gene polymorphisms was analyzed in gastric cancer, peptic ulcer, and nonulcer dyspepsia patients and in healthy control subjects and the data were correlated with the histopathological features of the patients' biopsies. The interleukin 6 -174 GG and GC genotypes have been previously associated with high interleukin 6 serum levels. We discovered that the interleukin 6 -174 GG and GC genotypes are associated with an increased risk of the diffuse histologic subtype of gastric carcinomas (OR: 6.809, P = 0.034), but absent in the intestinal type carcinomas (OR: 1.109, P = 0.908). No significant associations with peptic ulcer, gastric atrophy, or intestinal metaplasia were seen. Our results demonstrate that the interleukin 6 -174 GG and GC genotypes increase the risk of the diffuse type gastric carcinoma, but not the intestinal type gastric carcinoma or its precursor conditions, including atrophy or intestinal metaplasia. Thus, interleukin 6 seems to be an important carcinogenetic factor in the diffuse type gastric adenocarcinoma and its carcinogenetic effect could be noninflammatory. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.