In order to evaluate the sensitivity of computed tomography (CT) scan in detecting the abdominal lymph node metastases, preoperative CT scan was performed in 16 patients with carcinoma of the esophagus and gastric cardia. Ten patients (62.5%) had pathological evidence of lymph node metastases in the abdominal cavity and 4 of them were identified to involve the para-aortic nodes. CT scan correctly demonstrated the lymph node metastases in the para-aortic and celiac axisis areas, but failed to detect other abdominal lymph node involvements, which were small enough to be excised by operation. The para-aortic nodes on the CT scan showed the following two features; one was nodular mass in shape, which did not obscure the aorta or inferior vena cava, and the other was conglomerated mass, which was difficult to be distinguished from the aorta. The former was resectable and the latter was not.