OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to determine the predictive values of serum levels of several growth factors in ovarian cancer, including soluble c-erbB-2 oncoprotein, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that growth factors play an important role in carcinogenesis. METHODS: Two groups were established. One of them was the malignant group which included 41 patients with ovarian carcinoma and the other was the control group that was made up of 28 healthy volunteers. Preoperative serum samples were obtained from the patients, and c-erbB-2, IGF-1 and VEGF levels were measured in these samples using ELISA. Serum CA-125 levels were also determined, by chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay. RESULTS: VEGF levels of the malignant group were significantly higher than those of the control group (p < 0.01). CA-125 levels were also significantly higher than the in control group (p < 0.001). Area under the ROC curve (AUC) was 0.982 for CA-125, 0.780 for VEGF, 0.603 for c-erbB-2, and 0.467 for IGF-1 in differentiating cancers from controls. CONCLUSION: Serum VEGF levels might be a predictor for diagnosis in ovarian cancer patients, while serum c-erbB-2 and IGF-1 levels do not have a clinical significance in terms of ovarian cancer.