The effects of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), a tumor-promoting phorbol diester, were determined with regard to the induction of esophageal cancer in Wistar rats following a low-dose initial administration of the esophageal carcinogen N-amyl-N-methylnitrosamine [(AMN) CAS: 13256-07-0]. The induction of esophageal cancer was enhanced by TPA given in drinking water after AMN administration; i.e., the incidence of developing esophageal cancers and the multiplicity (number of esophageal cancers per rat) were significantly higher in groups given TPA solution orally after an oral administration of AMN than in those given the AMN solution alone. The enhancement of carcinogenesis with TPA was not affected by the interval between the administration of AMN and the administration of TPA. However, pretreatment with TPA before AMN administration did not enhance the induction of esophageal cancer. Neoplasms were not detected in groups given only TPA or tap water. Because this approach is similar to the phenomenon of two-stage carcinogenesis in the skin, it should provide a meaningful experimental model for studying two-stage carcinogenesis in the esophagus.