Background: Esophageal anastomotic leakage (EAL) is a severe complication following gastric and esophageal surgery for cancer. Several non-modifiable, patient or surgery related risk factors for EAL have been identified, however, the contribution of modifiable intraoperative parameters remains undetermined. This review provides an overview of current literature on potentially modifiable intraoperative risk factors for EAL. Materials and methods: The PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane databases were searched by two researchers independently. Clinical studies published in English between 1970 and January 2017 that evaluated the effect of intraoperative parameters on the development of EAL were included. Levels of evidence as defined by the Centre of Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) were assigned to the studies. Results: A total of 25 articles were included in the final analysis. These articles show evidence that anemia, increased amount of blood loss, low pH and high pCO2 values, prolonged duration of procedure and lack of surgical experience independently increase the risk of EAL. Supplemental oxygen therapy, epidural analgesia and selective digestive decontamination seem to have a beneficial effect. Potential risk factors include blood pressure, requirement of blood products, vasopressor use and glucocorticoid administration, however the results are ambiguous. Conclusion: Apart from fixed surgical and patient related factors, several intraoperative factors that can be modified in clinical practice can influence the risk of developing EAL. More prospective, observational studies are necessary focusing on modifiable intraoperative parameters to assess more evidence and to elucidate optimal values of these factors.