Background. (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has been used extensively to explore whether FDG Uptake can be used to provide prognostic information for esophageal cancer patients. The aim of the present review is to evaluate the literature available to date concerning the potential prognostic value of FDG uptake in esophageal cancer patients, in terms of absolute pretreatment values and of decrease in FDG uptake during or after neoadjuvant therapy. Methods. A computer-aided search of the English language literature concerning esophageal cancer and standardized uptake values was performed. This search focused on clinical studies evaluating the prognostic value of FDG uptake as an absolute value or the decrease in FDG uptake and using overall mortality and/or disease-related mortality as an end point. Results. In total, 31 studies met the predefined criteria. Two main groups were identified based on the tested prognostic parameter: (1) FDG uptake and (2) decrease in FDG uptake. Most studies showed that pretreatment FDG uptake and postneoadjuvant treatment FDG uptake, as absolute values, are predictors for survival in univariate analysis. Moreover, early decrease in FDG uptake during neoadjuvant therapy is predictive for response and survival in most studies described. However, late decrease in FDG uptake after completion of neoadjuvant therapy was predictive for pathological response and survival in only 2 of 6 studies. Conclusions. Measuring decrease in FDG uptake early during neoadjuvant therapy is most appealing, moreover because the observed range of values expressed as relative decrease to discriminate responding from nonresponding patients is very small. At present inter-institutional comparison of results is difficult because several different normalization factors for FDG uptake are in use. Therefore, more research focusing on standardization of protocols and inter-institutional differences should be performed, before a PET-guided algorithm can be universally advocated.