Esophageal cancer is the primary cause of malignant dysphagia, a major cause of morbidity and mortality. In patients with esophageal cancer that is unresectable at the time of diagnosis, palliation is the major goal. Surgical treatment as well as radiation and chemoradiation therapy are traditional approaches for such patients. Endoscopic therapy is useful for patients with poor performance status, those in whom other treatments have failed, and those with tracheoesophageal fistulas. In recent years, self-expanding metal stents have become an important new endoscopic treatment modality for palliation of malignant dysphagia in a wide range of patients. Appropriate patient selection is paramount when a mode of palliation for malignant dysphagia is being selected. Although various treatment options exist for palliation of malignant dysphagia, comparative studies among these modalities are needed.