A group of 127 patients with esophageal cancer treated with radiotherapy at different dose levels was retrospectively analysed. It was found that 70.5% of the patients showed improvement of dysphagia and that 54% remained palliated with respect to food passage until their death. The two major prognostic variables with respect to the palliative effect on dysphagia as well as survival were the passage score and the radiation dose. Patients with severe dysphagia (PASS 0 or 1) had a median actuarial DFI and SURV of 3.7 and 6.4 months, respectively, in contrast to 16.0 and 8.7 months for patients who were able to use (semi)solid food (PASS 2 and 3). The median actuarial DFI and SURV of patients treated with a relatively low dose (less than 50 Gy in 5 weeks) were 2.5 and 4.8 months, respectively, compared to 10.1 and 8.3 months, respectively, for patients treated with a relatively high dose.