Abstract Peritoneal fluid samples from 42 patients with ovarian carcinomas were tested for their suppressive effects on in vitro responses of normal lymphocytes. Suppression was detected both in a natural killer cell assay against K562 cells and in an assay measuring phytohemagglutinin-induced lymphoproliferation. There was no correlation between the level of immunosuppression and the 1-year survival. The greatest suppression was seen in radically operated patients and in patients with normal amounts of peritoneal fluid. Complete suppression was also seen in two patients operated for benign diseases. The results indicate that immunosuppression is not restricted to malignant ascites, but may be a normal function of the peritoneal fluid.