Between 1980 and 1994, 423 patients with esophageal cancer were given curative radiation therapy. Of these patients, 31 died of massive hemorrhage and were used as the subjects of analysis in this study. The incidence of massive hemorrhage in all patients was 7% (31/423). In the 31 patients who died of massive hemorrhage, 27 had local tumors and two had no tumors at hemorrhage (two unknown cases). The mean time interval from the start of radiation to hemorrhage was 9.2 months. In 9 autopsy cases the origin of hemorrhage was a tear of the aorta in 5 cases, necrotic local tumor in 3 cases and esophageal ulcer in 1 case. The positive risk factors for this complication seemed to be excess total dose, infection, metallic stent, and tracheoesophageal fistula. Chest pain or sentinel hemorrhage proceeding to massive hemorrhage was observed in about half of the patients.