OBJECTIVE: To provide the clinician with current concepts regarding prevention of ovarian cancer. Specifically, in this review, we provide a rationale for chemoprevention of ovarian cancer, a description of promising chemopreventive agents, and an overview of surgical strategies used in the prevention of ovarian cancer. DATA SOURCES: A computerized search of articles published through December 2001 was performed using the MEDLINE database from the period of 1966 to present. Search terms utilized included ovarian neoplasms, primary prevention, chemoprevention, oral contraceptives, NSAIDs, retinoids, ovariectomy, and tubal sterilization. Additional sources were identified through cross-referencing. METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION: All identified references relevant to prevention of ovarian carcinoma were reviewed. TABULATION, INTEGRATION, AND RESULTS: Each reference was reviewed to determine the relevant contribution to the fundamental science of ovarian cancer prevention. Particular attention was paid to those studies that offered insight into the development of translational trials in ovarian cancer chemoprevention. CONCLUSIONS: Investigation into chemoprevention for ovarian cancer represents a vastly underdeveloped area of research. Continued research efforts toward identification of novel compounds will accelerate the progress of clinical trials in this neglected area of investigation.