Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), its receptor (uPAR) and inhibitor, plasminogen activator-type 1 (PAI-1) are proposed to be of prognostic significance in some cancers. To determine the prognostic value of the urokinase plasminogen activation system in ovarian cancer, levels of uPA, uPAR, and PAI-1 were measured in extracts of ovarian cancer tissue using ELISA tests. uPA and PAI-1 were determined in 70 tumor extracts and uPAR in 43 extracts. Levels were correlated with age, tumor histology, stage, grade, lymph node and metastatic status, residual disease, risk of recurrence, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression, cathepsin D (Cath-D), and c-erbB-2 levels. uPA and uPAR did not exhibit correlation with any of these parameters. However, patients with high grade tumor, recurrence, and lower EGFR and Cath-D had significantly higher PAI-1 levels compared to those of others (P < 0.05). Kaplan-Meier plots of survival were compared. uPA and uPAR were not related to disease-free or overall survival. Although low PAI-1 appeared to predict a longer overall survival, the difference was not statistically significant. Multivariate analysis revealed that PAI-1 was a predictor for overall survival although it was not as strong as stage. These results suggest that elevated PAI-1 seems to be correlated with an unfavorable prognosis in ovarian cancer.