OBJECTIVES: We tested the hypothesis that co-coordinated up-regulation or down-regulation of several ovarian cell surface kinases may provide clues for better understanding of the disease and help in rational design of therapeutic targets. STUDY DESIGN: We compared the expression signature of 69 surface kinases in normal ovarian surface epithelial cells (OSE), with OSE from patients at high risk and with ovarian cancer. RESULTS: Seven surface kinases, ALK, EPHA5, EPHB1, ERBB4, INSRR, PTK, and TGFβR1 displayed a distinctive linear trend in expression from normal, highrisk, and malignant epithelium. We confirmed these results using semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and tissue array of 202 ovarian cancer samples. A strong correlate was shown between disease-free survival and the expression of ERBB4. DNA sequencing revealed two novel mutations in ERBB4 in two cancer samples. CONCLUSIONS: A distinct subset of the ovarian surface kinome is altered in the transition from high risk to invasive cancer and genetic mutation is not a dominant mechanism for these modifications. These results have significant implications for early detection and targeted therapeutic approaches for women at high risk of developing ovarian cancer.