Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for resectable esophageal carcinoma has been a focus of study, but no agreementhas been reached on clinical randomized controlled trials and relevant systematic evaluation. The purpose ofthis study was to perform a meta-analysis on published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that comparedneoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery with surgery alone for resectable esophageal carcinoma. Medline andmanual searches was conducted in PubMed, ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) meeting summary,Embase, the Cochrane Library (up to October 2010), Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, China NationalKnowledge Infrastructure, VIP Database, Wanfang Database. The selection contents were to identify all publishedand unpublished RCTs that compared neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery with surgery alone for resectableesophageal carcinoma. Sixteen RCTs which included 2,594 patients were selected. The risk ratio (RR) (95%confidence interval [CI]; P value), expressed as neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery versus surgery alone(treatment versus control), was 1.02 (0.95, 1.10; P=0.54) for 1-year survival, 1.29 (1.13, 1.47; P=0.0001) for 3-yearsurvival, 1.31 (1.13, 1.51; P=0.0003) for 5-year survival, 1.00 (0.95, 1.04; P= 0.85) for rate of resection and 0.89(0.64, 1.23; P=0.48) for operative mortality. The results showed that neoadjuvant chemotherapy for resectableesophageal carcinoma can raise the overall survival rate of patients with esophageal carcinoma, but it does notaffect treatment-related mortality.