Microsatellite instability (MSI) due to defects in DNA mismatch repair genes may be involved in the development of a subset of human ovarian carcinomas. The role of one such gene, hMSH6, in ovarian cancer is not well documented. We investigated the expression of hMSH6 protein in different histotypes of ovarian carcinoma and the associations between loss of hMSH6 protein and tumor grade, disease stage, familial history of cancer and patient survival. We stained an ovarian carcinoma tissue microarray consisting of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 322 patients with an anti-hMSH6 antibody and scored the results semiquantitatively as negative or positive. Twelve cases were excluded owing to loss of cores during staining. Absence of hMSH6 protein was noted in 20 of 230 serous carcinomas (8.7%), in 7 of 16 clear cell carcinomas (43.7%), in 4 of 34 endometrioid carcinomas (11.7%), in 1 of 14 malignant mixed Müllerian tumors, 2 of 6 mucinous carcinomas, 0 of 2 transitional cell carcinomas and in 0 of 8 undifferentiated carcinomas. Loss of hMSH6 protein was not associated with survival, patient age, tumor grade, or disease stage but was associated with clear cell, mucinous and endometrioid carcinoma histology (P<0.007). These findings indicate that loss of hMSH6 expression in ovarian carcinoma is more common in certain histologic subtypes, particularly in clear cell, endometrioid, and mucinous carcinoma, suggesting that loss of hMSH6 function may participate in the pathogenesis of these subtypes of cancer. Loss of hMSH6 expression did not predict survival and was not associated with disease stage, tumor grade, patient age or family history of cancer.