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The Chaoshan littoral is located in a high-incidence area of esophageal cancer in the south of China. In this study, a new esophageal cancer cell line CSEC was established from a 47-year-old female Chinese patient in this district. The biological characters of the cultured cells were investigated, including morphology, ultrastructure, growth kinetic features, tumorigenicity, expression of tumor-associated antigen and cytogenetic features. CSEC cell line grew continuously with a doubling time of 39.5 h and had been passaged over 80 times. The CSEC cells possessed features of squamous epithelial cells with cytokeratin indicated by immunohistochemical staining and tonofilaments and desmosomes revealed by electron microscopy. Tumorigenicity to severe combined immunodeficient mice was confirmed and the tumors developed revealed well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, similar to the origin tumor from which the cell line derived. The cytogenetic analysis demonstrated hypertetraploid karyotypes. Chromosome structure aberrations were common and complicated. Immunohistochemical staining showed that CSEC cells were infected with HPV and over-expressed p53. In summary, the CSEC cell line is a well-differentiated esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cell line from a high-incidence area in southern China. It may provide a useful model for the pathogenesis and therapeutic research of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.