Lymphadenectomy as an essential part of the surgical treatment has been one of the most controversial aspects in the management of esophageal cancers. The purpose of this article was to review the evolution, the current role, and the optimal extent of lymphadenectomy for the treatment of esophageal cancers. Studies discussing the outcome of esophagectomy with lymph nodes dissection and comparing among different extent of lymphadenectomy were used in the analysis. Several studies including recently published articles reveal that additional radical lymphadenectomy may be beneficial in some patients with non-extreme esophageal cancer undergoing esophagectomy, whereas two-field lymph node dissection is suitable for distal esophageal cancers regardless of the histology of the tumor. Minimally invasive surgery and neoadjuvant therapy combined with radical surgery seem to show more benefit in selected cases, but further studies should be required to clearly demonstrate their efficacy and safety. The expertise and experience of the surgeons should also be taken into account in determining the success of these radical procedures.