Effective molecular target drugs that improve therapeutic efficacy with fewer adverse effects for esophageal cancer are highly anticipated. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors have been proposed as low-toxicity agents to treat double strand break (DSB)-repair defective tumors. Several findings imply the potential relevance of DSB repair defects in the tumorigenesis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We evaluated the effect of a PARP Inhibitor (AZD2281) on the TE-series ESCC cell lines. Of these eight cell lines, the clonogenic survival of one (TE-6) was reduced by AZD2281 to the level of DSB repair-defective Capan-1 and HCC1937 cells. AZD2281-induced DNA damage was implied by increases in γ-H2AX and cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase. The impairment of DSB repair in TE-6 cells was suggested by a sustained increase in γ-H2AX levels and the tail moment calculated from a neutral comet assay after X-ray irradiation. Because the formation of nuclear DSB repair protein foci was impaired in TE-6 cells, whole-exome sequencing of these cells was performed to explore the gene mutations that might be responsible. A novel mutation in RNF8, an E3 ligase targeting γ-H2AX was identified. Consistent with this, polyubiquitination of γ-H2AX after irradiation was impaired in TE-6 cells. Thus, AZD2281 induced growth retardation of the DSB repair-impaired TE-6 cells. Interestingly, a strong correlation between basal expression levels of γ-H2AX and sensitivity to AZD2281was observed in the TE-series cells (R(2) = 0.5345). Because the assessment of basal DSB status could serve as a biomarker for selecting PARP inhibitor-tractable tumors, further investigation is warranted.