The presence of a folate binding protein which immunoreacts with antibodies against human milk folate binding protein was demonstrated in ascitic fluids from seven patients with ovarian adenocarcinoma. Ascitic fluids collected from two patients with other malignancies contained non-immunoreactive FBP. Tumor tissue specimens from five patients with ovarian carcinoma contained immunoreactive FBP. By contrast to normal ovaries ovarian carcinoma tissue showed positive immunostaining on immunohistochemistry. Ascitic fluids from two patients with ovarian carcinoma exhibited single distinct bands on SDS-PAGE immunoblotting. The gel filtration profile of ovarian carcinoma tissue homogenate from two patients contained 25 and 100 kDa peaks of radioligand-bound and immunoreactive folate binding protein, while ascitic fluid from one of the patients exhibited a large 100 kDa immunoreactive peak with no radioligand binding activity. The immunoreactive non-functional 100 kDa FBP could represent unprocessed precursor FBP. Future studies are necessary to evaluate whether determination of immunoreactive FBP in ovarian adenocarcinomatosis is of any diagnostic value.