PURPOSE: To investigate the esophagographic findings of early esophageal cancer(EEC), and to compare thesewith the pathologic results, and to thus determine the most useful method of esophagography for the detection ofEEC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined 18 patients(M : F = 16 : 2) with pathologically proven EEC ; 17 cases weresquamous cell carcinoma and one was adenocarcinoma. Tumor size, shape and location were evaluated byesophagography and the findings were compared with the pathologic results. RESULTS: The tumors were 0.5-7 cm insize ; all except two were smaller than 4cm. Twelve were located in the middle esophagus, five cases in the loweresophagus and one case in the upper esophagus ; in ten cases, the margin was ill-defined. Esophagography showedthat eight cases were of the superficial depressed type, seven were the superficial elevated type, and three werethe tumorous type. All 18 cases were detected by double contrast study, but mucosal relief study and bariumfilling study revealed only ten and eight cases, respectively ; for the detection of EEC, double contrast studywas thus the most useful. CONCLUSION: EEC was commonly demonstrated in the middle esophagus with an ill-definedmargin ; it was of the superficial depressed or elevated type. For the detection of EEC, double contrast study wasthe most useful.