Incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) in Western countries has increased markedly in recent decades. Although several risk factors have been identified for EA and its precursor, Barrett’s esophagus (BE), including reflux, Caucasian race, male gender, obesity, and smoking, less is known about the role of inherited genetic variation. Frequent somatic mutations in the tumor suppressor genes CDKN2A and TP53 were recently reported in EA tumors, while somatic alterations at 9p (CDKN2A) and 17p (TP53) have been implicated as predictors of progression from BE to EA. Motivated by these findings, we used data from a genome-wide association study of 2515 EA cases and 3207 controls to analyze 37 germline single nucleotide polymorphisms at the CDKN2A and TP53 loci. Three CDKN2A polymorphisms were nominally associated (P < 0.05) with reduced risk of EA: rs2518720 C>T [intronic, odds ratio 0.90, P = 0.0121, q = 0.3059], rs3088440 G>A (3’UTR, odds ratio 0.84, P = 0.0186, q = 0.3059), and rs4074785 C>T (intronic, odds ratio 0.85, P = 0.0248, q = 0.3059). None of the TP53 single nucleotide polymorphisms reached nominal significance. Two of the CDKN2A variants identified were also associated with reduced risk of progression from BE to EA, when assessed in a prospective cohort of 408 BE patients: rs2518720 (hazard ratio 0.57, P = 0.0095, q = 0.0285) and rs3088440 (hazard ratio 0.34, P = 0.0368, q = 0.0552). In vitro functional studies of rs3088440, a single nucleotide polymorphism located in the seed sequence of a predicted miR-663b binding site, suggested a mechanism whereby the G>A substitution may attenuate miR-663b-mediated repression of the CDKN2A transcript. This study provides the first evidence that germline variation at the CDKN2A locus may influence EA susceptibility.