Multimodality treatment is increasingly used in the treatment for esophageal cancer. We determined the tumor regression grade after preoperative chemoradiation and correlated the effect of specific pathologic and clinical findings to overall survival. For this purpose esophageal biopsies and surgical specimens of 67 patients treated with neoadjuvant paclitaxel and carboplatin concurrent with radiotherapy were reviewed. Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy led to a significant downstaging. Complete tumor regression was found in 24% of the patients resulting in a trend towards better survival. It was found more frequently in poorly differentiated tumors. Patients with pre-treatment nodal involvement, assessed by endoscopic ultrasound, had a significantly worse survival compared to patients without. Contrastingly, this was not found for post-treatment nodal involvement, as determined by pathological examination, speculating that survival is more determined by (submicroscopic) distant disease, than by locoregional tumor cells. J. Surg. Oncol. 2009;100:32–37. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.