Relationships between the incidence of metastatic spread and microvessel density, expression of proto-oncogene products, or expression of resistance-related proteins were investigated in human ovarian carcinomas by immunohistochemistry. Ovarian carcinomas with a high microvessel density showed a significantly increased formation of metastases (P = 0.005). Tumors with positive immunoreactivity of c-jun and c-myc products had a higher metastatic spread; however, these results were not statistically significant. A marginally significant correlation existed between the expression of erbB1 (EGFR) and metastatic spread (P = 0.05). No significant relationship was found between the expression of the resistance-related proteins P-glycoprotein or glutathione S-transferase-pi and the incidence of metastases. Furthermore, no correlation was detected between expression of the heat shock protein 70 and the occurrence of metastases.