We have demonstrated that CDO1 methylation is frequently found in various cancers, including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), but its clinical relevance has remained elusive. CDO1 methylation was investigated in 169 ESCC patients who underwent esophagectomy between 1996 and 2007. CDO1 methylation was assessed by Q-MSP (quantitative methylation specific PCR), and its clinical significance, including its relationship to prognosis, was analyzed. (i) The median TaqMeth value of CDO1 methylation was 9.4, ranging from 0 to 279.5. CDO1 methylation was significantly different between cStage I and cStage II/III (P = 0.02). (ii) On the log-rank plot, the optimal cut-off value was determined to be 8.9; ESCC patients with high CDO1 methylation showed a significantly worse prognosis than those with low CDO1 methylation (P = 0.02). (iii) A multivariate Cox proportional hazards model identified only CDO1 hypermethylation as an independent prognostic factor (HR 2.00, CI 1.09–3.78, P = 0.03). (iv) CDO1 hypermethylation stratified ESCC patients’ prognosis in cStage II/III for both neoadjuvant chemo(radio)therapy (NAC)-positive and NAC-negative cases. Moreover, the CDO1 methylation level was significantly lower in cases with Grade 2/3 than in those with Grade 0/1 (P = 0.02) among cStage II/III ESCC patients with NAC. Promoter DNA hypermethylation of CDO1 could be an independent prognostic factor in ESCC; it may also reflect NAC eradication of tumor cells in the primary tumors.