Forty-four consecutive cases of "early gastric cancer" were studied according to the macroscopic classification proposed by the Japanese Gastroenterological and Endoscopy Society and further analyzed in terms of growth patterns. The tumours were then classified into the small mucosal type, the superficially spreading (Super) type and the penetrating growth (Pen) type. The Lauren type (intestinal vs. diffuse), presence of lymphatic and venous invasion, and lymph node metastasis were also assessed. Most elevated tumours showed a superficial growth pattern and were classified as Lauren's intestinal type, whereas depressed lesions were associated with submucosal invasion and were classified as diffuse. Microscopic patterns did not show any correlation with Lauren's classification. Mean duration of follow-up was 67.8 months and the overall actuarial survival was 93%, 80%, and 72%, at 2, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Aside from venous invasion no correlation was found between survival and any of the morphological parameters analysed.