Laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy was used to measure fluorescence emission of normal and malignant tissue during endoscopy in patients with esophageal cancer and volunteers with normal esophagus. The spectroscopy system consisted of a nitrogen-pumped dye-laser tuned at 410 nm for excitation source, an optical multichannel analyzer for spectrum analysis, and a fiberoptic probe designed for both the delivery of excitation light and the collection of fluorescence emission from tissue. The fluorescence lineshape of each spectrum was determined and sampled at 15-nm intervals from 430 to 716 nm. A calibration set of spectra from normal and malignant spectra was selected. Using stepwise discriminate analysis, significant wavelengths that separated normal from malignant spectra were selected. The intensities at these wavelengths were used to formulate a classification model using linear discriminate analysis. The model was then used to classify additional tissue spectra from 26 malignant and 108 normal sites into either normal or malignant spectra. A sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 98% were obtained.