Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and its primary binding protein IGFBP-3 play an important role in cellular proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in many tumors, including ovarian cancer. The objective of this study was to determine the clinical significance of the serum levels of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients. A total of 50 patients with a pathologically confirmed diagnosis of EOC were enrolled into this study. Serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels were determined by the solid-phase sandwich ELISA method. Twenty age- and sex-matched healthy controls were included in the analysis. Median age of patients was 56.5 years old (range 22 to 83 years). Majority of the patients had advanced disease (FIGO stage III-IV; 90 %). No significant difference was observed in baseline serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels between EOC patients and healthy controls (p = 0.99 and p = 0.80, respectively). The young patients had higher serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 concentrations (p = 0.04 and p = 0.02, respectively). Patients with normal CA-125 levels had higher serum IGFBP-3 concentrations compared with those with higher CA-125 levels (p = 0.008). However, no other clinical variables including histology, tumor grade, stage of disease, and response to chemotherapy were found to be correlated with serum IGF assays (p > 0.05). A trend to significant relationship was found between the serum levels of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 (r (s) = 0.212, p = 0.07). The patients with elevated serum IGF-1 levels had favorable progression-free and overall survivals than those with lower levels (p = 0.04 and p = 0.03, respectively). However, serum IGFBP-3 concentrations were found to have no prognostic role for both survivals (p = 0.12 and p = 0.26, respectively). In conclusion, elevated serum level of IGF-1 is associated with favorable progression-free and overall survivals in EOC patients.