PURPOSE: Advanced gastric cancer patients have a poorer prognosis as compared to the patients with early gastric cancer. This study was conducted to define the prognostic factors for advanced gastric cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: 606 patients with advanced gastric cancer who underwent curative gastric resection at our hospital were retrospectively examined. The patients were divided into two groups: group 1 was comprised of patients with a survival time <5 years, and group 2 patients had a survival time > or = 5 years. We compared clinicopathological characteristics of the two groups by performing univariate and multivariate analysis. We also investigated the prognostic factors according to the stage. RESULTS: On univariate analysis, 7 factors (age, tumor size, Borrmann type, resection type, distal resection margin, depth of invasion and lymph node status) were found to be different, and multivariate analysis revealed that patient age, depth of invasion and lymph node metas tasis were the only significantly differences between the two groups. On the other hand, age and the Borrmann type for stage I b patients, age and the number of retrieved lymph nodes for stage II patients, tumor size for stage III patients, and the type of resection for stage IV patients were found to be the independent prognostic factors. CONCLUSION: The age of patients had prognostic value in the early stages of advanced gastric cancers such as stage I b or II. The number greater than 20 retrieved lymph nodes affected the survival, particularly for the patients with stage II disease, and the tumor size was a significant prognostic factor for patients with stage III disease. Therefore, physicians are advised to pay special attention to lymph node dissection for those patients with stage II or III disease.