It is well established that cancer arises in chronically inflamed tissue, and this is particularly notable in the gastrointestinal tract. Classic examples include Helicobacter pylori-associated gastric cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and inflammatory bowel disease-associated colorectal cancer. Growing evidence suggests that these associations might be not casual findings. Focusing on individual cytokines has generated evidence that anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) may have a complex role in gastrointestinal carcinogenesis. As an example, IL-10-deficient mice develop severe atrophic gastritis and a chronic enterocolitis, developing colorectal cancer similar to human inflammatory bowel disease-associated neoplasia. TGF-beta1 is a multifunctional signaling molecule with a wide array of roles. Animal experiments suggest that TGF-beta1 plays a biphasic role in carcinogenesis by protecting against the early formation of benign epithelial growths, but promoting a significant stimulation of tumor growth invasion and metastasis during tumor progression. We assessed association of functional polymorphisms (-1082G/A; -592C/A) and TGF-beta1 (-509C/T; +869C/T) influencing the IL-10 production to colorectal cancer risk in a case-control study of 62 patients and 124 matched controls. No significant differences were observed among cancer patients and controls for IL-10 -1082G/A; -592C/A genotype frequencies. Evaluation of odds ratios (OR) for the TGF-beta1 +869C/T genotypes showed a significant increased risk for individuals bearing +869CC genotype compared to +869CT- and +869TT-positive individuals. These results suggest that the +869C allele, responsible for a Leu-->Pro substitution in the signal peptide sequence of the TGF-beta1 protein, may have a predisposing role in the development of colorectal cancer.