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It is still controversial whether patients with clinical T2N0M0 (cT2N0M0) esophageal cancer are treated with induction therapy. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of induction therapy on cT2N0M0 esophageal cancer.We searched PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and Medline databases from inception up to May 1, 2017. This meta-analysis was performed to compare odds ratios (OR) for 5-year overall survival (OS), pathologically understaged and overstaged after esophagectomy.Eight retrospective studies of 2646 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Data showed that no statistically significant difference in 5-year over survival was observed between induction therapy group and direct operation group. The pooled OR and 95% confidence interval (CI) for 5-year OS were 0.92 (95% CI = 0.72–1.18; P = .52). Whereas, compared with induction therapy group, direct operation group had more pathologically understaged and less overstaged after esophagectomy.Currentclinical staging for T2N0M0 esophageal carcinoma remains inaccurate. In this study, we found that direct operation group had more pathologically understaged and less overstaged after esophagectomy compared with induction therapy group. Induction therapy could degrade the tumor staging but not improve the patient's survival.