There is no scientific study that has investigated the association between human papilloma virus (HPV) and p53 mutation in Hong Kong Chinese patients with esophageal cancers. The aim of this survey is to evaluate in details the prevalence and relationship of HPV and p53 mutation in these patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinomas. Fresh tissues from the resected specimens of 70 Chinese patients (59 men, 11 women) with primary esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (20 well-differentiated, 36 moderately differentiated, and 14 poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinomas) were tested for the presence of HPV and p53 mutation using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), single-strand conformational polymorphism (SSCP) analysis, and DNA sequencing. No HPV type 18 was detected, whereas HPV type 16 was identified in 8.6% (6 of 75) of the cases. p53 mutation was found in 44% (31 of 70) of the tumors. The mean ages of HPV-positive and HPV-negative groups of patients were 55 and 64 years, respectively (P = .046, t-test). There was no correlation between the prevalence of HPV and p53 mutation in these tumors. The presence of HPV and p53 also had no relation to the sex of the patients or to the grade of the carcinomas. It is concluded that the overall low prevalence of HPV in esophageal carcinomas may suggest that the virus may not play an important role in the pathogenesis of these tumors in Hong Kong Chinese patients. Also, p53 mutation and integrated HPV DNA are not mutually exclusive in esophageal cancer.