For developing successful cancer gene therapy strategies, tumor-specific gene delivery is essential. In this study, we used esophageal cancer (EC) cells to identify and evaluate esophageal tumor-specific gene promoters. Four genes (polo-like kinase-1/PLK, survivin/BIRC5, karyopherin α 2/KPNA2, and pituitary tumor transforming gene protein 1/PTTG1) were identified by a microarray analysis as highly expressed in EC cell lines vs. five normal organ tissues (liver, lung, kidney, brain, and heart). By quantitative RT-PCR, the average mRNA expression levels of these four genes in 20 primary ECs were 2.7-fold (PLK), 6.1-fold (survivin), 2.6-fold (KPNA2), and 2.4-fold (PTTG1) higher than that of each gene in 24 different normal organs. By dual luciferase assay, the promoter activity of PLK and survivin in EC cell lines was 18.9-fold and 28.5-fold higher, respectively, than in normal lung and renal cells. The promoters of PLK and survivin could be useful tools for developing EC-specific gene therapy vectors.