In a hospital-based case-control study of esophageal cancer undertaken in Athens (1989-1991), 43 patients with incident esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma and 56 patients with incident esophageal adenocarcinoma were compared to 200 injury patients. Personal interviews were conducted in the hospital setting, and dietary intake was assessed using a validated semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Nutrient intakes for individuals were calculated by multiplying the nutrient content of a typical portion size for each specified food item by the frequency with which the food was consumed per month and summing these estimates for all food items. Data were modeled through logistic regression, controlling for socio-demographic factors, tobacco smoking, consumption of alcoholic beverages and total energy intake. Consumption of vegetables and fruits as well as intake of vitamin A, vitamin C and crude fiber were inversely associated with esophageal cancer in general, but the respective associations were stronger for adenocarcinoma. There was evidence that added oils and fats and intake of polyunsaturated fat were positively associated with adenocarcinoma but inversely associated with squamous-cell carcinoma.