Background: The Int7G24A variant of transforming growth factor-beta receptor type I (TGFBR1) has been shown to increase the risk for kidney, ovarian, bladder, lung and breast cancers. Its role in colorectal cancer (CRC) has not been established. The aims of this study were to assess the association of TGFBR1*Int7G24A variant with CRC occurrence, patient age, gender, tumour location and stage. Methods: We performed a case-control study with 504 cases of sporadic CRC; and 504 non-cancerous age, gender and ethnically matched controls. Genotyping analysis was performed using allelic discrimination assay by real time PCR. Results: The Int7G24A variant was associated with increased CRC incidence in an additive model of inheritance (P for trend = 0.005). No significant differences were found between Int7G24A genotypes and tumour location or stage. Interestingly, the association of the Int7G24A variant with CRC risk was significant in men (odds ratio 4.10 with 95% confidence intervals 1.41-11.85 for homozygous individuals; P for trend = 0.00023), but not in women. We also observed an increase in susceptibility to CRC for individuals aged less than 70 years. Conclusion: Our data suggest that the Int7G24A variant represents a risk factor for CRC in the male Spanish population. © 2009 Castillejo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.