We report 11 cases of gastric lymphoma that harbor the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encoded small messenger RNA, EBER-1, detected by in situ hybridization. The cases represented 18% of 61 consecutive gastric lymphomas from three institutions in Hong Kong between 1988 and 1993. The mean age of patients was 62 years (range, 33 to 87). The male to female ratio was 5:6. Nine of the 11 (81.8%) EBER-1+ gastric lymphomas were diffuse large cell lymphomas of B-cell type without low grade components. Macroscopically these lymphomas appeared either as large noncleaved cell (centroblastic) or immunoblastic type. From the available follow-up data, five of the nine patients with B-cell lymphoma were alive and well 48, 40, 14, 13, and 12 months, respectively, after gastrectomy and chemotherapy. One patient died of postoperative pneumonia and one died of a second malignancy (esophageal squamous carcinoma) 40 months after gastrectomy. None of the EBER-1+ B-cell gastric lymphomas showed histological features characteristic of low grade lymphoma of the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) type reported to be common in some Western countries. Of the two patients with T-cell lymphoma, one had a pleomorphic T-cell lymphoma and the other had an angiocentric lymphoma. The former was lost to follow-up after the biopsy and the latter presented with gastric perforation and died 1.5 months after gastrectomy. It is concluded that a significant proportion of gastric lymphomas in Hong Kong Chinese are EBV-related and that they show histological features more akin to conventional node-based lymphomas than to MALT-type lymphomas.