In ovarian cancer, translational research on the prognostic impact of molecular biological factors has until now not led to clinical implementation of any of these factors. This is partly due to the often conflicting results of different prognostic factor studies on the same molecular biological factor. We have performed meta-analyses on studies in ovarian cancer on four putative prognostic molecular biological factors, epidermal growth factor-receptor (EGFR), HER-2/neu, glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-pi and p53. Odds ratios were estimated for the increase in death at 1 and 5 years for patients with ovarian cancer, harbouring aberrant EGFR, HER-2/neu, GST-pi and p53, respectively. Patients with aberrant Her-2/neu or p53 in their tumours had significantly worse odds of surviving 1 and 5 years, respectively. Patients with aberrant EGFR in their tumours only had a significantly greater risk of mortality at 5 years, while there seemed to be a trend for a decreased probability of 5-year survival for patients with aberrant GST-pi in their tumours. Despite inevitable flaws (such as small individual study sizes, publication bias, etc.) our meta-analysis confirms that therapeutic drugs targeted at EGFR, HER-2/neu, GST-pi and p53 may have therapeutic potential. Since ovarian cancer is a relatively rare disease, international collaboration to increase the number of patients to be analysed is critical for progress in translational research on the prognostic impact of molecular biological factors and on innovative treatment in ovarian cancer. In addition it is important to reach a consensus about guidelines for the design. conduct and analysis of translational studies in ovarian cancer.