Three cases of benign lesions which mimicked malignant tumors of the esophagus are described. In all three cases, two inflammatory pseudotumors and one case of diffuse leiomyomatosis, the clinical presentations, radiologic features, and gross pathologic findings led to the mistaken diagnosis of carcinoma at thoracotomy. The benign nature of the processes was recognizable only on microscopic examination. Although most benign tumors of the esophagus are localized solitary lesions that are easily distinguished from carcinoma, occasionally benign conditions may present as infiltrative, ulcerated mass lesions. Inflammatory pseudotumor and diffuse leiomyomatosis should be included in the differential diagnosis of esophageal malignancies.