Background: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play important roles in pathogenesis and developmentof cancer. Recently, many studies have show associations between polymorphisms in the promoter regions ofMMPs and risk of gastric cancer. The present meta-analysis was conducted in order to investigate the potentialassociation between four polymorphisms in the MMP gene and gastric cancer risk. Methods: A computerizedliterature search was conducted in databases of Med-line, Embase, Science Citation Index and PubMed till June2013 for any MMP genetic association study of gastric cancer. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals(CIs) were estimated for each gene under dominant and recessive models, and heterogeneity between studies wasassessed using the Q test and I2 value. Overall and subgroup analyses according to ethnicity were carried out withStata 12.0. Results: 14 reports covering 8,146 patients (2,980 in the case group and 5,166 in the control group)were included in the present meta-analysis. We found that the MMP-7 (-181A>G) polymorphism increased thegastric cancer risk in therecessive model (GG vs. AA/AG, OR=1.768, 95% CI =1.153-2.712). For MMP2 −1306C>T, MMP1-1607 1G/2G, and MMP9−1 562 C>T, there were no associations between these polymorphisms andthe risk of gastric cancer under dominant or recessive models. Conclusion: This meta-analysis suggested thatthe MMP7-181 A>G polymorphism may contribute to gastric cancer susceptibility. More studies are needed,especially in Europeans, in the future.