Gastric cancer is one of the most common malignancies in India. DNA repair gene or xenobiotic pathway gene polymorphisms have recently been shown to affect individual susceptibility to gastric cancer. Here, the possible interaction between common polymorphisms in X-ray repair cross complementing group I (XRCC1) gene and glutathione S-transferase (GST) genes (GSTM1, GSTT1 and GSTP1), smoking and alcohol consumption and overall survival in gastric cancer patients were evaluated. In this population-based case control study, 70 gastric cancer patients and 82 healthy controls were enrolled. The epidemiological data were collected by a standard questionnaire, and blood samples were collected from each individual. XRCC1 Arg194Trp, Arg280His and Arg399Gln polymorphisms were determined by polymerase chain reaction and direct DNA sequencing. GSTM1 and GSTT1 null polymorphisms and GSTP1 Ile105Val polymorphism were identified by multiplex polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), respectively. The risk of gastric cancer was significantly elevated in individuals with XRCC1 Arg/Gln +Gln/Gln (p = 0.031; odds ratio = 2.32; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.07–5.06) and GSTP1 Val/Val genotype (p = 0.009; odds ratio = 8.64; 95 % CI 1.84–40.55). An elevated risk for GC was observed in smokers and alcohol consumers carrying GSTP1 Ile/Val +Val/Val genotype (p = 0.041; odds ratio = 3.71; 95 % CI 0.98–14.12; p = 0.002; odds ratio = 12.31; 95 % CI 1.71–88.59). These findings suggest that XRCC1 rs25487 and GSTP1 rs1695 can be considered as a risk factor associated with gastric cancer and might be used as a molecular marker for evaluating the susceptibility of the disease. © 2016, International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM).