We performed a phase II trial to evaluate a docetaxel-based regimen in locoregionally advanced esophageal cancer. Untreated stage II-IVa esophageal cancer patients with performance status 0-2 were included. Tumor resectability was determined prior to initiation of study. Induction docetaxel (75 mg/m(2)) and cisplatin (75 mg/m(2)) day 1 with prophylactic filgrastim was delivered every 21 days for 3 cycles. Subsequent concomitant chemoradiotherapy (CRT) utilized weekly docetaxel (20 mg/m(2)) and concurrent radiotherapy (2 Gy/day) in resectable/resected patients (50 Gy) and in unresectable patients (66 Gy). A total of 78 patients (15 squamous cell carcinoma, 60 adenocarcinoma, 3 mixed/undifferentiated; 68 men, 10 women; median age 61 years) were accrued. The regimen was administered to 59 (76%) potentially resectable patients and 13 (17%) unresectable patients; 6 patients (8%) received the regimen post-operatively. Response rate in 66 evaluable patients following induction chemotherapy was 30%. Sixty-nine patients underwent CRT. Ten patients had disease progression during CRT. Forty-five out of 59 potentially resectable patients underwent esophagectomy after CRT, and 42 patients had complete tumor resection with negative margins. Eighteen out of 59 patients who were potentially resectable patients had pathologic complete response (pCR-31%). Grade 3/4 toxicity during induction chemotherapy included leucopenia, neutropenia, vomiting, and neuropathy. Esophagitis was the predominant toxicity during CRT. Median overall survival was 11.4 months for unresectable patients, 14.3 months for resectable patients and 10.4 months for patients who received the regimen post-operatively (log-rank P = 0.2492). Docetaxel-based CRT regimen is active and tolerable in esophageal cancer. The observed pCR in the potentially resectable group indicates good local control.