A retrospective analysis was performed to evaluate the clinical characteristics and prognostic factors in the patients with clear cell carcinoma (CCC) of the ovary. After central pathological review and scanning of the medical records of nine Japanese institutions between 1992 and 2003, a total of 254 patients with CCC of the ovary were enrolled in the present study. Mean age was 52.4 years (range 23-73 years). Tumours were 13% (33/254) stage Ia, 36% (92/254) stage Ic, 13% (33/254) stage II, 30% (80/254) stage III, and 6% (16/254) stage IV. Five-year progression-free survival and overall survival was 84 and 88% in stage I, 57 and 70% in stage II, 25 and 33% in stage III and 0 and 0% in stage IV, respectively. Retroperitoneal lymph node metastasis was observed in 9% in pT1a tumours, 7% in pT1c tumours, 13% in pT2 tumours, and 58% in pT3 tumours, respectively. There was no survival benefit according to chemotherapeutic differences in the patients who received complete surgical staging procedures and conventional chemotherapy. Peritoneal cytological status was an independent prognostic factor in stage Ic patients (P=0.03) and only residual tumour diameter was an independent prognostic factor in stage III, IV patients (P=0.02). Our results suggest that cytoreductive surgery resulting in no residual tumour only could improve the prognosis of advanced CCC patients.