OBJECTIVES Apolipoprotein C3 (ApoC3) polymorphisms have been suggested to be associated with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, the results of relevant studies were inconsistent. We aimed to systematically evaluate this issue. DESIGN PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane library databases (up to March 2013) were systematically searched to identify studies evaluating the association between ApoC3 polymorphisms and CHD risk. Two reviewers independently identified studies, extracted and analysed the data. Either a fixed-effects or a random-effects model was adopted to estimate overall ORs. STUDIES REVIEWED Finally, 20 studies comprising 15 591 participants were included in this systematic review. Fifteen studies with 11 539 individuals were included in the meta-analysis of Sst I polymorphism, four studies comprising 3378 individuals assessed T-455C polymorphism, four studies with 3070 participants evaluated C-482T polymorphism and C1100T polymorphism was assessed by three studies comprising 4662 participants. RESULTS Under dominant model, Sst I polymorphism was borderline significantly associated with CHD risk (S1S2+S2S2 vs S1S1, pooled OR=1.19, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.42). Subgroup analyses suggested that Sst I polymorphism was significantly associated with myocardial infarction (MI) risk (pooled OR=1.42, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.91), and Sst I polymorphism was statistically associated with CHD risk among Asian population (pooled OR=1.35, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.69) and in retrospective studies (pooled OR=1.30, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.61). A significant association was observed between T-455C polymorphism and CHD risk (TC+CC vs TT, pooled OR=1.22, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.42). A borderline significant association was suggested between T-455C polymorphism and MI risk (pooled OR=1.21, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.46). C-482T and C1100T polymorphisms were not indicated to be associated with CHD risk or MI risk. CONCLUSIONS ApoC3 Sst I and T-455C polymorphisms might be associated with CHD risk.