From 1975 to 1985, 142 patients with early gastric cancer were operated on in our service; this group comprised 14 per cent of all patients with gastric cancer operated on during this period. Epigastric pain was the most frequent symptom (75.3 per cent). The lesions were located in the lower third in 45.8 per cent, in the middle third in 31.7 per cent, in the upper third in 20.4 per cent and in the gastric stump in 2.1 per cent. Subtotal gastrectomy was performed in 116 patients and operative mortality was limited to two patients. Macroscopically 86.6 per cent of cases were included in type III, IIc and IIc-III. The five year survival rate, excluding the operative mortality, was 93.1 per cent. Tumours located in the lower third of the stomach, limited to the mucosa and of ulcerating type, had the best prognosis.