PURPOSE: There are few studies that have focused on the predictors of recurrence after gastrectomy for gastric carcinoma. This study analyzed the patients who died of recurrent gastric carcinoma and we attempted to clarify the clinicopathologic factors that are associated with the timing of recurrence. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From June 1992 to March 2009, 1,795 patients underwent curative gastric resection at the Department of Surgery, Hanyang University College of Medicine. Among them, 428 patients died and 311 of these patients who died of recurrent gastric carcinoma were enrolled in this study. The clinicopathologic findings were compared between the 72 patients who died within one year after curative gastrectomy (the early recurrence group) and the 92 patients who died 3 years after curative gastrectomy (the late recurrence group). RESULTS: Compared with the late recurrence group, the early recurrence group showed an older age, a more advanced stage, a poorly differentiated type of cancer and a significantly higher tendency to have lymphatic invasion, vascular invasion and perineural invasion.Especially in the gastric cancer patients with a more advanced stage (stage III and IV), the early recurrence group was characterized by a significantly higher preoperative serum carcino embryonic antigen level, perineural invasion and a relatively small number of dissected lymph nodes. CONCLUSIONS: The clinicopathologic characteristics of recurrent gastric cancer are significantly different according to the stage of disease, and even in the same stage. For the early detection of recurrence after curative surgery, it is important to recognize the clinicopathological factors that foretell a high risk of recurrence. It is mandatory to make an individualized surveillance schedule according to the clinicopathologic factors.