The aim of this study was to evaluate 18F-fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in gastric and oesophageal carcinoma. 16 patients with biopsy proven oesophageal or gastric carcinoma had PET scans. Four patients had advanced disease and received palliative treatment. The remaining 12 patients were randomized to immediate surgery or neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Three patients had repeat PET scans following chemotherapy. PET detected the primary tumour in all cases including stage T1 lesions. Involved locoregional nodes (N1, N2) were not identified separately from the primary tumour. Semiquantitative analysis was performed in the form of tumour to liver activity ratios (TLR). In general, the TLR values were higher in the higher T stages, although there was only one case each of T1 and T2 lesions. PET scanning using 18F-FDG is a sensitive method for detecting primary oesophageal and gastric cancers but is limited in locoregional staging.