An inverse association between ovarian cancer risk, carotenoids and antioxidant vitamins has been suggested by several epidemiologic studies and 1 experimental trial of a vitamin A analogue. From a population-based study of 549 cases of ovarian cancer and 516 controls, we estimated the consumption of the antioxidant vitamins A, C, D and E and various carotenoids, including alpha- and beta-carotene and lycopene, using a validated dietary questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression was used to calculate the exposure odds ratios adjusted for established ovarian cancer risk factors. Intakes of carotene, especially alpha-carotene, from food and supplements were significantly and inversely associated with risk for ovarian cancer, predominantly in postmenopausal women. Intake of lycopene was significantly and inversely associated with risk for ovarian cancer, predominantly in premenopausal women. Food items most strongly related to decreased risk for ovarian cancer were raw carrots and tomato sauce. Consumption of fruits, vegetables and food items high in carotene and lycopene may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.