Epithelial ovarian cancer presents mostly with serous, endometrioid or mucinous histology but is treated as a single disease. The development of histotype-specific therapy has been challenging because of the relative lack of studies attributing disrupted pathways to a distinct histotype differentiation. mTOR activation is frequently associated with poor prognosis in serous ovarian cancer, which is the most common and most deadly histotype. However, the mechanisms dysregulating mTOR in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer are unknown. We detected copy number loss and correlated lower expression levels of LKB1, TSC1, TSC2 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes for upstream regulators of mTOR activity in up to 80% in primary ovarian serous tumor databases, with LKB1 allelic loss-predominant. Reduced LKB1 protein was usually associated with increased mTOR activity in both serous ovarian cancer cell lines and primary tumors. Conditional deletion of Lkb1 in murine ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells caused papillary hyperplasia and shedding but not tumors. Simultaneous deletion of Lkb1 and Pten, however, led to development of high-grade ovarian serous histotype tumors with 100% penetrance that expressed WT1, ERα, PAX8, TP53 and cytokeratin 8, typical markers used in the differential diagnosis of serous ovarian cancer. Neither hysterectomy nor salpingectomy interfered with progression of ovarian tumorigenesis, suggesting that neither uterine nor Fallopian tube epithelial cells were contributing to tumorigenesis. These results implicate LKB1 loss in the OSE in the pathogenesis of serous ovarian cancer and provide a compelling rationale for investigating the therapeutic potential of targeting LKB1 signaling in patients with this deadly disease. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.