Abstract From September 1987 to December 1989, 36 patients with advanced esophageal cancer entered a study in order to determine the efficacy of palliation by a single session of intraluminal irradiation. A dose of 15 Gy was administered at I cm distance from the central axis of the applicator. In 22 of 32 patients alive at least 6 weeks after treatment dysphagia improved, in 14 this relief was complete. Re-obstruction occurred in 8 of the 22 responders, but a second treatment with intraluminal irradiation gave improvement in six. Intraesophageal prostheses were needed in only 6 of the 36 patients. Intraluminal irradiation is easy to administer and safe, it forms a useful addition to the therapeutic possibilities for the palliation of esophageal cancer.