Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death in China. In the present study, proteins in tumors and adjacent normal esophageal tissues from 41 patients with ESCC were extracted, and two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) was performed using the pH 3-10 and 4-7 immobilized pH gradient strips. The protein spots expressed differentially between tumors and normal tissues were identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization and liquid chromatography electrospray/ionization ion trap mass spectrometry. A total of 22 proteins differentially expressed between ESCC and normal esophageal tissues were identified, in which 17 proteins were upregulated and 5 downregulated in tumors. Biological functions of these proteins are related to cell signal transduction, cell proliferation, cell motility, glycolysis, regulation of transcription, oxidative stress processes, and protein folding. Some of the proteins obtained were confirmed by Western blotting and immunohistochemical staining. We showed that high expression of calreticulin and 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) were correlated with poor prognosis by Kaplan-Meier analysis and log rank analysis. Zinc finger protein 410, annexin V, similar to the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2 variant 1 isoform c, mutant hemoglobin beta chain, TPM4-ALK fusion oncoprotein type 2, similar to heat shock congnate 71-kDa protein, GRP78, and pyruvate kinase M2 (M2-PK) were for the first time observed to be dysregulated in human ESCC tissues. The proteins here identified will contribute to the understanding of the tumorigenesis and progression of Chinese ESCC and may potentially provide useful markers for diagnosis or targets for therapeutic intervention and drug development.