Surgical resection of primary colonic lymphoma can be an important therapeutic tool. We performed a nonrandomized retrospective descriptive study at the University hospital tertiary care center. From January 1990 to June 2002, a total of 15 patients with primary colonic lymphoma were identified from the tumor registry at University of Alabama at Birmingham and retrospectively reviewed under Institutional Review Board approved protocol. Demographic data, clinical features, treatment method (surgery and/or chemotherapy), recurrence rate, and survival were analyzed. The results are presented as mean ± standard deviation or median and range. Differences in survival were evaluated by the log-rank test and the interval of disease-free survival was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. A P value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Main outcome measures included surgical results, morbidity, mortality, and recurrence rate. Mean age was 51.5 years (standard deviation 16.4), 33 per cent were male and 67 per cent were female. Presenting symptoms were diarrhea (53.5%), lower gastrointestinal bleeding (13.3%), and nausea and vomiting (46.7%) secondary to low-grade obstruction. Concomitant colorectal disease was present in one patient with ulcerative colitis. Preoperative diagnosis of lymphoma was made in 13 patients (87%) with colonoscopy and biopsy. CT scan was performed in all patients; and none had radiographic evidence of systemic extension. Only one patient had a history of lymphoproliferative disease and exposure to radiation. The most common disease location was the cecum (60%), followed by the right colon (27%), and the sigmoid colon (13%). The mean lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) value was 214.9 u/L (range 129-309). Thirty-three per cent of the patients had an LDH value that was above the upper normal limit. LDH returned to normal after treatment in all patients. Operations performed consisted of right hemicolectomy (13), total proctocolectomy with ileal J J-pouch (1), and sigmoid colectomy (1). Eighty-seven per cent had negative margins at the time of operation. Twelve patients received postoperative chemotherapy (80%). According to the clinical classification of primary non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) of the gastrointestinal tract (Lugano, 1993) all patients corresponded to stage IE. Mean hospital stay was 6.4 days (range 3-26). There was no surgical mortality and the morbidity rate was 20 per cent (3 patients). One patient had a systemic recurrence (7%) approximately 4 months after surgical resection. Mean follow-up was 31 months (median 2-73). Surgical resection of localized, primary colonic lymphoma provides excellent local disease control and should be considered a primary treatment option. The role of chemotherapy remains controversial depending on the grade, stage, and extension of residual disease.