Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most malignancies with a poor prognosis. The phospholipase Cε gene (PLCE1) encodes a novel ras-related protein effector mediating the effects of R-Ras on the actin cytoskeleton and membrane protrusion. However, molecular mechanisms pertinent to ESCC are unclear. We therefore designed PLCE1-special small interfering RNA and transfected to esophageal squamous cell (EC) 9706 cells to investigat the effects of PLCE1 gene silencing on the cell cycle and apoptosis of ESCC and indicate its important role in the development of ESCC. Esophageal cancer tissue specimens and normal esophageal mucosa were obtained and assayed by immunohistochemical staining to confirm overexpression of PLCE1 in neoplasias. Fluorescence microscopy was used to examine transfection efficiency, while the result of PLCE1 silencing was examined by reverse transcription (RT-PCR). Flow cytometry and annexin V apoptosis assays were used to assess the cell cycle and apoptosis, respectively. Expression of cyclin D1 and caspase-3 was detected by Western-blotting. The level of PLCE1 protein in esophageal cancer tissue was significantly higher than that in normal tissue. After transfection, the expression of PLCE1 mRNA in EC 9706 was significantlyreduced, compared with the control group. Furthermore, flow cytometry results suggested that the PLCE1 gene silencing arrested the cell cycle in the G0/G1 phase; apoptosis was significantly higher than in the negative control group and mock group. PLCE1 gene silencing by RNAi resulted in decreased expression of cyclin D1 and increased expression of caspase-3. Our study suggests that PLCE1 may be an oncogene and play an important role in esophageal carcinogenesis through regulating proteins which control cell cycling and apoptosis.