Onconeural antibodies are found in patients with cancer and are associated with paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS). The objective of the present study was to assess the frequency of Yo antibodies in ovarian and breast cancer using a sensitive immunoprecipitation technique, and to look for any association of Yo antibodies with neurological symptoms and prognostic factors. A multiwell adapted fluid-phase immunoassay using radiolabelled recombinant cerebellar degeneration related protein (cdr2), produced by coupled in vitro transcription/translation was used for the detection of Yo antibodies. This technique combines high specificity and sensitivity with high sample analysing capacity for the antibody in question. Sera or EDTA-blood from 810 ovarian (n = 557) and breast cancer (n = 253) patients were analysed for Yo antibodies by immunoprecipitation, as well as immunofluorescence and immune blots. Two hundred healthy blood donors and sera from 17 patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration and Yo antibodies served as controls. Immunoprecipitation was more sensitive in detecting Yo antibodies than immunofluorescence and immune blots. The prevalence of Yo antibodies was 13/557 (2.3%) in ovarian cancer and 4/253 (1.6%) in breast cancer using immunoprecipitation. Yo antibodies were not correlated with specific histological subgroups. The Yo index of ovarian cancer patients in FIGO stage IV was higher compared to FIGO stage I-III. The prevalence of Yo antibodies was 3 times higher in patients with stage III breast cancer than in stage I and II. Only 2/17 (11.8%) patients with Yo antibodies detected during the screen of 810 cancer patients had PNS. The results show that the prevalence of Yo antibodies is low in ovarian and breast cancer. Yo antibodies may be associated with advanced cancer, but less often with PNS.