BACKGROUND AND AIMS The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the feasibility of submucosal tunnelling endoscopic resection of esophageal tumours originating from the muscularis propria layer. METHODS Fifteen patients with esophageal submucosal tumours originating from the muscularis propria layer underwent submucosal tunnelling endoscopic resection between August 2011 and February 2012. The key steps were: (1) creating a submucosal tunnel from 5 cm above the tumour between the submucosal and muscular layers with a hook knife or hybrid knife; (2) dissecting the tumour by the technique of endoscopic submucosal dissection; (3) closing the mucosal incision site with clips after the tumour was removed. RESULTS Submucosal tunnelling endoscopic resection was successfully performed in all cases. The en bloc resection rate was 100%. The average tumour diameter was 1.8 cm (range 1.0-3.0 cm). During the procedure, perforation occurred in 3 patients, who recovered after conservative treatment. No residual tumour or tumour recurrence was detected during the follow-up period (mean: 3.5 months, range: 1-9 months). Pathological diagnoses of these tumours were leiomyomas (12/15) and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (3/15). CONCLUSIONS Submucosal tunnelling endoscopic resection is a feasible method for the treatment of small esophageal submucosal tumours originating from the muscularis propria layer.