OBJECTIVE To investigate the association between polymorphisms in the gene coding for glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1) and susceptibility to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a Chinese population. METHODS This was a pilot study of the molecular epidemiology in patients with COPD. The research design was a case-control study. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) were performed to genotype GSTP1 polymorphisms in exon 5 in 100 COPD patients and 100 age and sex matched healthy controls. Logistic regression analysis method was used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and the 95% confidence interval (CI). RESULT There was no significant difference in GSTP1 polymorphisms adjusted by age, sex, body mass index and smoking between COPD patients and controls. CONCLUSION The gene polymorphism for GSTP1 was not associated with susceptibility to COPD in the Chinese population.