Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF, CCN2), a secreted protein, is involved in the development and progression of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). However, it remains unclear how CTGF expression affects the progression of ESCC. Our study implicated differences of CTGF protein status in precancerous lesions, and retrospectively examined the associations of CTGF mRNA and protein levels with clinical prognosis in ESCC patients. Here immunohistochemistry and the quantitative real-time real-time reverse transcription polymerase were performed for predicting the CTGF protein status and mRNA levels in ESCC patients, respectively. Different degrees of CTGF protein status presented in normal human esophageal epithelium and precancerous lesions, and CTGF protein was highly expressed in ESCCs. Survival analysis showed that CTGF protein status was significantly related to poor survival of ESCC patients (P= 0.024), while no significant difference was observed between CTGF mRNA levels and the survival of ESCC patients (P= 0.196). Multivariate Cox analysis demonstrated that CTGF protein status was the independent factor in prognosis of ESCC patients. In that way, CTGF protein status might elevate the progression of ESCC, and would be significant for the diagnosis of precancerous lesions or early ESCC.