We have previously reported that MUC4 expression is a poor prognostic factor in various carcinomas. Our previous study also showed that MUC1 expression in gastric cancers, including the early and advanced stages is a poor prognostic factor. In the present study, the expression profiles of MUC4 and MUC1 were examined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) using two anti-MUC4 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), 8G7 and 1G8, and anti-MUC1 MAb DF3 in 104 gastrectomy specimens of early gastric adenocarcinoma with submucosal invasion (pT1b2), including 197 histological subtype lesions. Before the IHC study of the human specimens, we evaluated the specificity of the two MAbs by Western blotting and IHC of two MUC4 mRNA expressing gastric cancer cell lines. MAb 8G7 reacted clearly, whereas MAb 1G8 did not show any reactivity, in either Western blotting or IHC. In the IHC of the gastric cancers, the expression rates of MUC4/8G7 detected by MAb 8G7, MUC4/1G8 detected by MAb 1G8 and MUC1/DF3 detected by MAb DF3 in well differentiated types (70%, 38/54; 67%, 36/54; 52%, 28/54) were significantly higher than those in poorly differentiated types (18%, 10/55; 36%, 20/55; 13%, 7/55) ( P<0.0001; P = 0.0021; P<0.0001), respectively. The MUC4/8G7 expression was related with lymphatic invasion (r = 0.304, P = 0.033). On the other hand, the MUC4/1G8 expression was related with lymphatic invasion (r = 0.395, P = 0.001) and lymph node metastasis (r = 0.296, P = 0.045). The MUC1/DF3 expression was related with lymphatic invasion (r = 0.357, P = 0.032) and venous invasion (r = 0.377, P = 0.024). In conclusion, the expression of MUC4 as well as MUC1 in early gastric cancers is a useful marker to predict poor prognostic factors related with vessel invasion.