DEC1 [basic helix-loop-helix (BHLH) E40/Stra13/Sharp2] and DEC2 (BHLHE41/Sharp1) are BHLH transcription factors that are associated with the regulation of apoptosis, cell proliferation, and circadian rhythms, as well as malignancy in various cancers. However, the roles of DEC1 and DEC2 expression in esophageal cancer are poorly understood. In this study, we examined the roles of DEC1 and DEC2 in human esophageal cancer TE 5 and TE 10 cells that had been treated with cis-diamminedichloroplatinum (II) (cisplatin: CDDP). Expression of DEC1 and DEC2 was decreased with CDDP treatment in TE 5 cells; however, knockdown or overexpression of DEC1/DEC2 had little effects on CDDP-induced apoptosis in TE 5 cells. DEC1 expression was up-regulated in CDDP-treated TE 10 cells, whereas DEC2 expression was unchanged. DEC1 knockdown by siRNA in TE 10 decreased the amount of cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) after treatment with CDDP, whereas DEC2 knockdown had no effects on the amount of cleaved PARP in both the presence and absence of CDDP. We also demonstrated that DEC1 overexpression promoted cleaved PARP expression, whereas DEC2 overexpression had no effects on the amount of cleaved PARP in TE 10 cells. These results suggested that DEC1 has pro-apoptotic effects on human esophageal cancer TE 10 cells of well-differentiated type.