Previous investigators have reported that in patients with esophageal carcinoma tumor cell type affects prognosis. A retrospective analysis of 258 patients, from 1985 to 1991, undergoing curative esophagogastrectomy for adenocarcinoma ( n = 134) or squamous cell carcinoma (n = 124) was performed to test the hypothesis that histologic cell type is an independent prognostic factor and to identify other predictors of survival after resection. The actuarial overall survival ( p = 0.16) and disease-specific survival (p = 0.68) were similar for adenocarcinoma (median overall survival = 27 months) and squamous cell carcinoma (median overall survival = 22 months). Univariate analysis identified T stage, N stage, number of diseased nodes, tumor differentiation, tumor site, and blood transfusions as significant ( p < 0.05) variables in predicting overall survival. The presence of Barrett's esophagus was not predictive of survival. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that T stage ( p = 0.006), N stage ( p = 0.01), and number of diseased lymph nodes ( p = 0.03) were independent predictors of overall survival. This analysis demonstrated that histologic type is not an independent variable for overall survival in patients undergoing curative esophagogastrectomy for carcinoma of the esophagus and gastroesophageal junction. Outcome is most strongly influenced by extent of disease defined by T and N stage. (J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1995;109:130-9).