OBJECTIVES: This study was performed in order to investigate the frequency of the TNF2 allele in patients with coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP). METHODS: We compared the genotype distribution of TNFalpha gene promoter polymorphism between 80 CWP patients and 54 healthy controls. RESULTS: The results were as follows : 1. The rare allele TNF2 was significantly more frequent in CWP patients (20.6 %) than in controls (10.2 %). 2. The spontaneous or LPS-induced release of TNFalpha from the peripheral monocytes was slightly increased in the TNF2 group, but these values were not significantly different between groups. 3. In the CWP TNF2 group, the increase of LPS-induced TNFalpha release was significant in comparison with that of the controls. CONCLUSIONS: From the above results, we suggest that the TNF2 allele is strongly associated with susceptibility to CWP development.