Treatment of patients with early stage gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) remains undefined. We began a controlled clinical trial to evaluate efficacy and toxicity of the most common therapies. Two hundred and forty-one patients with gastric low-grade MALT lymphoma in early stage (IE and IIE) were randomized to surgery (80 cases), radiotherapy (78 cases), and chemotherapy (83 cases). With a median follow-up of 7.5 yr, actuarial curves at 10 yr showed that event-free survival was 52% in patients treated with surgery, 52% in radiotherapy arm, and 87% in the chemotherapy group (p < 0.01). However, overall survival did not showed any statistical differences: 80%, 75% and 87%, respectively (p = 0.4). Acute and late toxicities were mild. No death-related treatments were observed. No clear differences were observed between the most common therapies in patients with primary gastric MALT lymphoma in early stages, probably because this type of lymphoma has an high response rate to salvage treatment after failure to local treatment (surgery and radiotherapy). Thus considered, chemotherapy alone is an effective and safe therapeutic approach in this setting of patients. Surgery or radiotherapy will be reserved to patients that are not candidates for chemotherapy.