Between 1972 and 1993 232 patients with early gastric cancer have been resected at the Surgical University Hospital of Mannheim. At the time of surgery 9.9% of the patients had lymph node involvement, 2 of them had distant metastases. In 59.9% of the cases (n = 138) a subtotal distal gastric resection, in 34.1% (n = 79) a total gastrectomy and in 6.4% (n = 15) a proximal or an atypical resection were performed. Following distal resection and total gastrectomy a radical lymphadenectomy of the compartments I and II was performed. The hospital lethality was 5.2%, the morbidity 18.1%. There were no statistical significant differences between the different surgical methods. The cumulative-5-year-survival rate was 80% without any statistically significant differences between the surgical methods and the histological types according to the Japanese classification of early gastric cancer.