Background: Some forms of gastric intestinal metaplasia (GIM) may be precancerous but the cellular phenotype that predisposes to gastric carcinogenesis is not well characterised. Mucin staining, as a means of differentiating GIM, is difficult. A monoclonal antibody, mAb Das-1 (initially called 7E12H12), whose staining is phenotypically specific to colon epithelium, was used to investigate this issue. Methods: Using mAb Das-1, by a sensitive immunoperoxidase assay, we examined histologically confirmed GIM specimens from two countries, the USA and Japan. A total of 150 patients comprised three groups: group A, GIM (fields away from the cancer area) from patients with gastric carcinoma (n=60); group B, GIM with chronic gastritis (without gastric carcinoma) (n=72); and group C, chronic gastritis without GIM (n=18). Results: Fifty six of 60 (93%) patients with GIM (both goblet and non-goblet metaplastic cells) from group A reacted intensely with mAb Das-1. Cancer areas from the same 56 patients also reacted. In contrast, 25/72 (35%) samples of GIM from patients in group B reacted with mAb Das-1 (group A v B, p<0.0001 ). None of the samples from group C reacted with the mAb. Conclusions: Reactivity of mAb Das-1 is clinically useful to simplify and differentiate the phenotypes of GIM. The colonic phenotype of GIM, as identified by mAb Das-1, is strongly associated with gastric carcinoma.