Germline genetic variants in PLCE1 (10q23) have demonstrated consistent associations with risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and gastric cancer among Chinese. We evaluated PLCE1 mRNA and protein expression in paired tumor-normal tissues, and their relationship with survival. PLCE1 mRNA was profiled using three probes in the Affymetrix GeneChip U133 for paired tumor-normal tissues of ESCC (n = 132), gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA, n = 62), and gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA, n = 72). We used immunohistochemistry to detect PLCE1 protein on slides from tissue microarrays in paired tumor-normal tissues of ESCC (n = 303), and tumors of GCA (n = 298) and GNCA (n = 124). Compared with normal tissues, PLCE1 mRNA expression was significantly reduced in ESCC tumors (P = 0.03, probe_205112_at), as well as in GCA and GNCA tumors (P < 0.0001, each probe). Protein expression was nonsignificantly reduced in ESCC tumors (P = 0.51). Increased tumor-normal mRNA fold change (probe_205112_at) was associated with longer survival in ESCC (9.6 months for highest vs. lowest quartile; Ptrend = 0.02). Increased mRNA tumor-normal fold change (probe_205111_at) was associated with longer survival for GCA (10.7 months for highest quartile; Ptrend = 0.04), but not for GNCA cases (P = 0.72). Similar to mRNA, elevated tumor-normal fold change for protein in ESCC was also associated with improved survival (8.1 months for highest quartile; Ptrend = 0.04). Dysregulated PLCE1 mRNA expression was observed for both ESCC (one probe only) and GCA tumors, and the altered PLCE1 expression seems to be associated with cancer prognosis. A potential role for PLCE1 in the early detection and/or therapy of ESCC and GCA warrants further investigation.