Human papillomavirus (HPV) is 1 of the possible aetiological factors in the development of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We aimed to study the role of HPV in ESCC. 140 cases of ESCC were analysed for the HPV DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using GP5+/GP6+ primers for L1 open reading frame (ORF) to amplify a 150 bp segment of HPV L1 ORF. This region was subsequently sequenced to identify the type of HPV. Of the 140 patients enrolled to our study 50.7% were female and 49.3% were male, aged between 20 and 81 y. 33 tumour specimens (23.6%) and 12 (8.6%) non-involved tumour margins were HPV positive. From HPV positive tumour cases 36% were positive in tumour margins. The HPV positive cases were 21.7% male and 25.3% female. There is no correlation between presence and types of HPV with patients'gender and age. The frequency of HPV subtypes in tumoural regions was as follows: HPV-16, 60.6%; HPV-18, 30.3%; HPV-33, 6.1%; and HPV-31, 3%. We found only HPV-16 in tumour margins. Our results are consistent with HPV studies conducted in other high-risk areas for ESCC and provided further evidence to support a causal association of HPV infection with ESCC.