A sample of 219 primary stomach cancers, 143 advanced cancers and 76 early cancers were examined for mucin histochemical staining (the paradoxical concanavalin A method, the galactose oxidase-Schiff [GOS] reaction, and the sialidase-GOS reaction) and immunohistochemical reactivity (pepsinogen [Pg] I, Pg II, SH-9 and TKH-2). Gastric cancer cells were clearly classified according to mucin histochemistry into a gastric type, including mucus neck cell, pyloric gland cell and surface mucus cell types, and an intestinal type, including goblet-cell, and intestinal absorptive cell types. TKH-2 monoclonal antibody, which recognizes the mucin-associated sialosyl-Tn antigen, reacted with the mucin of goblet cells in both the normal small intestine and in the intestinal metaplasia of the stomach. Sixty-five of 106 (61%) differentiated adenocarcinomas and 76 of 113 (67%) undifferentiated adenocarcinomas had over 10% of their cancer cells positive for TKH-2. The TKH-2-positive cancers were primarily classified as a goblet-cell type by mucin-histochemical staining and the other immunohistochemical staining methods. Therefore, it is concluded that sialosyl-Tn is an excellent marker of small intestinal mucins and is indicative of a small intestinal type of differentiation in two-thirds of gastric cancers.