In the period 1997-1999, 120 incident and histologically verified cases of stomach cancer were frequency matched on age, sex, residence and urban/rural status with 360 controls in order to study the role of diet in gastric cancer in Uruguay. Our attention was focused on the role of carotenoids in gastric carcinogenesis, after controlling for major confounders. According to the results, vitamin A, alpha-carotene and lycopene were associated with strong inverse relationships with stomach cancer (OR of stomach cancer for high alpha-carotene intake 0.34, 95% CI 0.17-0.65). Joint exposure to high intakes of alpha-carotene and vitamin C intakes were associated with a strong reduction in risk (OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.03-0.36). It was also suggested that high lycopene intake explained most of the reduction in risk of gastric cancer associated with vegetable intake, whereas no such effect was observed for fruit intake.