DNA damage repair, responsible for maintaining the genome integrity, plays a central role in cancer biology. Individual DNA repair capacity is genetically determined. Inherited defect in nucleotide excision repair (NER) genes leads to three distinct and extremely rare disorders: xeroderma pigmentosum, associated with high risk of skin cancer, Cockayne syndrome, and trichothiodystrophy. The recently identified common polymorphism in several NER genes may also influence a risk of cancer in general population. The review presents current knowledge about a role of genetic variation of NER genes in cancer predisposition.