Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death among female genital malignancies. Reduced expression of the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin was previously shown to be associated with adverse prognostic features. The role of the E-cadherin repressor Snail in ovarian cancer progression remains to be elucidated. We analysed formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded specimens of 48 primary ovarian tumours and corresponding metastases for expression of E-cadherin and Snail by immunohistochemistry. We found a significant correlation between E-cadherin expression in primary cancers and their corresponding metastases (P<0.001). This correlation was found for Snail expression as well (P<0.001). There was a significant (P=0.008) association of reduced E-cadherin expression in primary ovarian cancer with shorter overall survival. Similarly, Snail expression in corresponding metastases (P=0.047) was associated with reduced overall survival of the patients. Additionally, the group of patients showing reduced E-cadherin and increased Snail immunoreactivity in primary tumours and corresponding metastases, respectively, had a significantly higher risk of death (P=0.002 and 0.022, respectively) when compared to the patient group with the reference expression profile E-cadherin positive and Snail negative. Taken together, the results of our study show that the E-cadherin repressor Snail is associated with lower overall survival of ovarian cancer patients.