The positive expression of MMP-2 and TIMP-2 were found in esophageal cancer (EC) tissue and correlated with cancer stage and clinico-pathological features of tumor and patients' survival. However, little is known about serum levels of those proteins in EC patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate the diagnostic significance of MMP-2 and TIMP-2 serum levels in EC patients in relation to clinico-pathological features of cancer. The study included 53 EC patients and 92 healthy controls. The serum levels of MMP-2, TIMP-2 and classical tumor markers CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) and SCC (squamous cell carcinoma antigen) were assayed. The prognostic values and diagnostic criteria for the biomarkers tested were defined. Serum levels of MMP-2, TIMP-2 in EC patients were significantly lower, whereas CEA and SCC significantly higher than in control group. The diagnostic sensitivity of TIMP-2 (57%) was higher than those for other biomarkers tested and increased in combination with SCC (70%). Area under ROC curve for TIMP-2 (0.8698) was larger than for other proteins. In Cox's univariate analysis only SCC serum levels were significant prognostic factors for EC patients' survival. The results suggest the limited value of serum analyses of MMP-2 for tumor staging and prognosis in EC and the better usefulness of TIMP-2 than MMP-2 as a tumor marker in the diagnosis of EC, especially in combined use with SCC.