Recently, considerable attention has been focused on the role of the small heat-shock protein group hsp27, hsp70 and hsp90 in the clinical outcome of several malignancies. However, conflicting data exist regarding the prognostic role of hsp27 expression in ovarian carcinoma, and the prognostic significance of hsp70 and hsp90 expression still remains unknown in these tumours. The purpose of this study was to investigate immunohistochemically whether hsp27, hsp70 and hsp90 expression was associated with clinicopathological parameters and survival in 52 epithelial ovarian carcinomas. Chi-square test, Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis were used for statistical analysis. Among clinicopathological parameters, hsp27, hsp70 and hsp90 expression was only correlated with FIGO stage; hsp70 and hsp90 positivity failed to detect survival. However, the overall survival rate of patients with hsp27 expression was 13%, which was significantly worse than that of patients without hsp27 expression (47%) (p<0.01). The prognosis was also adversely affected by FIGO stage (p<0.01) and presence of ascites (p<0.01). In multivariate analysis, hsp27 expression and FIGO stage were independent prognostic variables. Our results indicate that hsp70 and hsp90 expression had no prognostic relevance in epithelial ovarian carcinomas. However, hsp27 expression and FIGO stage in these tumours could be reliable indicators of prognosis.