Steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR) is a nuclear receptor activated by diverse exogenous and endogenous compounds and has been demonstrated to play a pivotal role in detoxification through its regulation of various metabolizing enzymes and transporters. Recent studies also demonstrated the potential roles of SXR in the regulation of apoptosis and inflammation in various carcinoma cells, but the status of SXR in human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) has not been examined. Therefore, in this study, we performed immunohistochemical and quantitative RT-PCR evaluations in human ESCC in order to clarify its biological and clinical significance. We first immunolocalized SXR in 73 human ESCC cases. SXR immunoreactivity was detected in the nuclei, or in both nuclei and cytoplasm of carcinoma cells (98%, 20% of cases, respectively). The status of nuclear SXR immunoreactivity was inversely correlated with histological grade, lymph node status, ki67/MIB1 labeling index, and positively correlated with retinoid X receptor α status. In addition, high nuclear SXR expression was significantly correlated with favorable clinical outcome of the patients. Multivariate analysis further demonstrated SXR status in carcinoma cells as an independent favorable prognostic factor of the patients. Results of quantitative RT-PCR study demonstrated that SXR mRNA expression was detected in three of five cases, and was marked higher in the cancerous tissue than non-neoplastic tissue of these patients. This is the first study to demonstrate the status of SXR in human ESCC and the results suggest that SXR is a potent favorable prognostic factor of human ESCC. (Cancer Sci 2009)