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The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of the circumferential resection margin (CRM) in esophageal cancer on survival and recurrence in patients without pretreatment.Whereas the infiltration of the proximal or distal resection margin is associated with poor survival and higher recurrence, studies looking at the role of the circumferential resection margin on survival and local recurrence after esophagectomy are conflicting.Influence of CRM infiltration according to the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and Royal College of Pathologists (RCP) on long-term survival of 180 patients with resected pT3 tumors and without neoadjuvant therapy was analyzed.A positive CRM was found in 76 (42.4%) patients according to RCP and 44 (24.4%) patients according to CAP. The CRM status had neither according to CAP nor according to RCP a significant impact on overall survival (P = 0.317 and 0.655, respectively), local recurrence (P = 0.716 and 0.900, respectively), or distant tumor relapse (P = 0.303 and 0.471, respectively).Lymphatic tumor spread found in 129 (71.7%) patients was an independent prognosticator (P = 0.002). In 137 (76.1%) patients who had a transthoracic esophagectomy a CRM infiltration was significantly lower according to CAP compared with 43 (23.9%) patients who had a transhiatal esophagectomy (P = 0.026).CRM was found to have no impact on survival and recurrence in esophageal cancer. Therefore, the possible impact of neoadjuvant pretreatment in locally advanced tumors should be considered with caution in terms of an improved resectability.