Summary. The biological activity of interferon (IFN) is mediated by the induction of intracellular antiviral proteins, such as 2′–5′ oligoadenylate synthetase, dsRNA-activated protein kinase and MxA protein. Among these, MxA protein is assumed to be the most specific surrogate parameter for IFN action. This study was performed to elucidate whether a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (G/T at nt-88) in the promoter region of the MxA gene influences the response to IFN therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Polymorphisms of the MxA gene in 235 HCV patients were determined by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism. The frequency of SNP was compared between sustained-responders (n = 78) and nonresponders (n = 157), as determined by biochemical and virological responses to IFN. Multivariate analysis showed that among all patients, HCV genotype, HCV RNA level and the SNP of the MxA gene were independent and significant determinants of the outcome of IFN therapy [odds ratio 3.8 (95% confidence interval 2.0–7.0), P < 0.0001; 0.27 (0.15–0.50), P < 0.0001; 1.8 (1.0–3.4), P = 0.0464, respectively]. Furthermore, among patients with a low viral load (≤2.0 Meq/mL), MxA-T-positive patients were more likely to show a sustained response compared with MxA-T-negative patients [2.87 (1.3–6.3); 62%vs 36%; P = 0.0075]. Our findings suggested that the SNP of the MxA gene is one of the important host factors that independently influences the response to IFN in patients with chronic HCV infection, especially those with a low viral load.