The expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), oestrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) was assayed by a radioreceptor method in 117 primary ovarian cancers. EGFR was not significantly related to any of the clinicopathological parameters examined. In patients with stage II-IV disease who underwent second-look surgery after primary chemotherapy, a significant correlation between high EGFR levels and poor response to chemotherapy was demonstrated (P = 0.031). Moreover, post-operative residual tumour showed an independent role in predicting chemotherapy response (P = 0.0007) and EGFR status showed a borderline significance (P = 0.052) in the multivariate analysis. No correlation between steroid hormone receptors and clinicopathological parameters was observed. Whereas a significant relationship was shown between EGFR positivity and a shorter overall survival (OS) (P = 0.0022) and progression-free survival (PFS) (P = 0.0033), patient survival was not related to steroid hormone receptor status. Among the parameters tested only stage, ascites and EGFR status retained an independent prognostic value in the multivariate analysis.