The prognosis of early gastric cancer (EGC) is generally excellent, however, EGC is not an exception to recurrence. In order to know what type of EGC is liable to recur, long-term results were studied in 304 cases of resection. The cumulative 10-year survival rate was poorer in patients with positive lymph nodes than in those with negative nodes (52.8 +/- 15.8 per cent vs 94.1 +/- 2.4 per cent; p less than 0.05). It was also less favorable when the EGC was greater than 5 cm in diameter (61.5 +/- 13.2 per cent vs 92.9 +/- 2.4 per cent; p less than 0.05). Among 50 cases which died postoperatively, six deaths were due to recurrence. A predominant mode of recurrence was hematogenous metastasis (4/6). The characteristics of EGC which recurred later included large cancer (greater than or equal to 5 cm) (6/6), macroscopically combined-type cancer (5/6), cancer of depth invasion to the submucosa (4/6) and histologically differentiated cancer (6/6). Lymph node dissection was not carried out in two of these patients at their primary operation. Adjuvant therapy should be added in the EGC bearing risk factors depicted above. Primary cancer in other organs, either metachronous or synchronous, was found in 13 cases (4.3 per cent). Colonic cancer, in particular, was seen in three, and it was 4.8 times as frequent as the expected number of the general population, calculated using the person-year method.