Esophageal carcinoma (EC) is one of the most common human digestive tract tumors, with high morbidity and mortality. It is necessary to elucidate the mechanism of cancer progression and seek early EC diagnostic markers for prompt detection and intervention. Exosomes are membrane nanovesicles secreted from many nucleated cells, 30-100 nm in diameter, containing various proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. They exist in peripheral blood, urine, ascites and other body fluids, widely engaged with intercellular material exchange and signal communication. Exosomes secreted from EC cells or tissues conduct important functions in tumor growth and progression. The detection and analysis of tumor-derived or tumor-associated exosomes has potential for EC early diagnosis and prognosis assessment. In the present paper, the exosomes' biological behaviors, isolation, detection and functions in EC progression - using as potential biomarkers for EC diagnosis or prognosis - are reviewed.