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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of triphasic spiral CT with water-filling method in the preoperative T staging of gastric cancer.We performed triphasic spiral CT in 108 patients with gastric cancer (53 with early and 55 with advanced gastric cancer). The CT findings were prospectively analyzed and correlated with the histopathologic findings. Spiral CT scans were assessed for the layered pattern of the normal gastric wall, the detectability of tumor, the enhancing pattern of the tumor, and the depth of tumor invasion.The layered pattern of the normal gastric wall was clearly demonstrated in the arterial-dominant or parenchymal phase. All 12 early cancers detected with spiral CT were most clearly depicted in the arterial-dominant or parenchymal phase. On the other hand, 15 (28%) of 54 advanced cancers were most clearly depicted in the equilibrium phase due to the gradual enhancement from the inner mucosal side of the tumor. Most of these tumors were scirrhous type tumor containing abundant fibrous tissue stroma. The accuracy of spiral CT for tumor detection and T staging was 98 and 82%, respectively, in advanced gastric cancer and 23 and 15%, respectively, in early gastric cancer.Spiral CT with triphasic scan technique improved the accuracy of estimating the depth of tumor invasion in advanced gastric cancer.