PURPOSE To investigate the impact of the cytidine deaminase (CDA) A79C polymorphism on both the response to gemcitabine in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and the risk of hematologic toxicities in patients bearing any kind of cancer taking gemcitabine. METHODS The PubMed and Embase databases were searched from the first available article to January 2013. Eligible studies included clinical trials that contained the keywords "gemcitabine" or "cytidine deaminase" and information about response rate of NSCLC patients or hematologic toxicities in patients with any kind of cancer. Relative risk (RR) of different genotypes and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. RESULTS A total of 7 articles (623 patients from 6 studies) were included. The results showed that patients with wild type CDA (AA and AC) had a significantly lower rate of severe anemia than the homozygote mutant type CC (RR=0.308; 95%CI, 0.113-0.021, p=0.021). However, the rate of severe neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and the response rate were identical between different CDA genotypes. CONCLUSION The A79C CDA polymorphism did not show a significant impact on the response rate to gemcitabine in NSCLC patients, while the wild type CDA genotype was indeed correlated to a lower rate of incidence of severe anemia in patients taking gemcitabine.