The aim of this study was to establish the diagnostic utility of p53 immunohistochemistry in Barrett's esophagus. Three pathologists reviewed endoscopic biopsy specimens and one surgical specimen derived from 102 subjects in a prospective follow-up series. Dysplasia was graded as negative, indefinite, low grade and high grade. p53 staining was assessed as negative, weak or patchy and strong. Kappa coefficients for interobserver agreement for the three combinations of observer pairs were moderate to substantial (0.48, 0.55 and 0.68) for dysplasia and substantial to near perfect (0.77, 0.82 and 0.89) for p53 immunostaining. In the consensus grading achieved for dysplasia, strong p53 staining was recorded in 0/79 samples that were negative or indefinite for dysplasia, 5/15 (33%) examples of low grade dysplasia and 7/8 (87%) examples of high grade dysplasia. Non-dysplastic p53 positive glands were seen in specimens from two subjects harbouring dysplasia or cancer elsewhere. Two p53 positive specimens were, upon review and discussion, re-assigned from low- to high-grade dysplasia. It is concluded that p53 immunohistochemistry facilitates the interpretation of Barrett's epithelium but need only be employed to confirm a suspected diagnosis of dysplasia and assist with the distinction between low- and high-grade dysplasia.