PURPOSE: Although there is an increasing incidence of upper third gastric cancers, the appropriate extent of resection for upper third gastric cancer is not known. This study was performed to analyze a 9-year experience with upper third gastric adenocarcinomas from one institution treated by either total gastrectomy (TG) or proximal gastrectomy (PG). METHODS: The records and survival data of 158 upper third gastric cancer patients who underwent curative TG (n=106) or PG (n=52) through an exclusively abdominal approach were retrospectively analyzed. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in age, sex, tumor gross type, tumor differentiation, and stage between the groups who underwent TG and those who underwent PG. In addition, there were no significant differences in hospital mortality, overall 5-year survival, and disease-free survival rates between PG and TG group. However, PG group showed higher rates of postoperative reflux esophagitis and anastomosis stricture than TG group. Regarding the main patterns of recurrence, local recurrence was dominant in PG group, whereas distant recurrence was dominant in TG group. CONCLUSION: The extent of resection for upper third gastric cancer does not affect long-term outcome, and both procedures can be accomplished safely. When the cancer is confined to upper third of the stomach without serosal invasion, PG combined with antireflux procedures can be indicated.