Gynecologic malignancies, representing 13% of all cancers affecting women, have a major impact on women's health. Cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancers comprise the majority of these tumors and contribute significant morbidity and mortality to the female population. While cervical and endometrial cancers can be detected early in their development, sadly, many patients present with advanced disease, as do the majority of patients with ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, advanced cases of these malignancies are usually lethal despite modern therapeutic modalities. In order to impact upon these grim statistics, gynecologic researchers have turned to molecular biology in an attempt to elucidate the etiology of these cancers. Recent research describing dominant oncogene and tumor suppressor gene mutations common to these malignancies is providing a basis for the molecular genesis of these cancers. This information should offer new avenues for the development of early detection and chemoprevention, as well as novel treatment strategies.