Ovarian cancer is complex disease composed of different histological grades and types. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in the development of different phenotypes remain largely unknown. Epidemiological studies identified multiple exogenous and endogenous risk factors for ovarian cancer development. Among them, an inflammatory stromal microenvironment seems to play a critical role in the initiation of the disease. The interaction between such a microenvironment, genetic polymorphisms, and different epithelial components such as endosalpingiosis, endometriosis, and ovarian inclusion cyst in the ovarian cortex may induce different genetic changes identified in the epithelial component of different histological types of ovarian tumors. Genetic studies on different histological grades and types provide insight into the pathogenetic pathways for the development of different disease phenotypes. However, the link between all these genetic changes and the etiological factors remains to be established. © 2007 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.