PURPOSE: Borrmann type IV gastric cancer is often diagnosed only at an advanced stage, resulting in a prognosis poor. We performed a retrospective study of the clinical characteristics of Borrmann type IV gastric cancer and the prognostic factors affecting the survival rate in such patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Of 4, 063 patients with all gastric cancers, 370 (9%) with Borrmann type IV gastric cancer were analyzed. RESULTS: The clinical characteristics of these patients included a higher incidence rate in young females, and higher rates of serosa exposure, metastasis to lymph nodes and early peritoneal dissemination. Of patients presenting with peritoneal seeding, those resected had a higher survival rate than those that were not. A univariate analysis showed that the prognostic factors affecting the survival rate following a curative resection were the location, occupied area and depth of the primary tumor, as well as the presence of lymph node metastasis and the tumor stage. A multivariate analysis indicated that the tumor location and stage were significant independent prognostic factors after a curative resection for Borrmann type IV gastric cancer. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the early diagnosis and treatment of patients with Borrmann type IV gastric cancer are essential for the better survival of these patients. Even in patients with advanced tumors, a noncurative palliative resection may improve the prognosis.