Prospective and retrospective studies have suggested that serum vitamin A and total cholesterol levels may be associated with cancer. Our study showed that the mean (+/- SEM) concentrations of serum vitamin A 489 +/- 33.28 (mean +/- SEM micrograms/liter and serum total cholesterol 174.7 +/- 8.96 (mean +/- SEM) mg/dl from ovarian cancer patients in Singapore were significantly lower than the respective values of 668 +/- 25.10 (mean +/- SEM) microgram/liter and 210.7 4.48 (mean +/- SEM) mg/dl from noncancerous control subjects (P less than 0.0001 for both compounds). In addition, ovarian cancer patients did not show significantly lower serum triglyceride levels than the control subjects. Age did not significantly correlate the serum vitamin A and total cholesterol concentrations, but there was correlation with respect to the serum triglyceride levels. There were moderate correlations between vitamin A and cholesterol levels (r = 0.36, P less than 0.0027) and between cholesterol and triglyceride levels (r = 0.37, P less than 0.0024) in the control subjects but not in the cancer patients. Vitamin A levels correlated moderately with triglyceride levels in both the cancer patients (r = 0.42, P less than 0.0258) and the control subjects (r = 0.33, P less than 0.0069). The inverse relationship between the incidence of ovarian cancer and serum vitamin A and serum total cholesterol concentrations may have distinct implications for preventive medicine and public health.