Several lines of evidence suggest that vascularization plays an important role in the growth, local expansion and dissemination of ovarian epithelial tumours. However, the interaction of ovarian carcinoma cells with the endothelium remains poorly understood. To investigate adhesive events underlying this process, we used an in vitro model of cocultures between the IGROV1 human ovarian adenocarcinoma cell line and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). IGROV1 cells were shown to adhere rapidly on the HUVECs monolayer. Adhesion was inhibited by anti-αv integrin and anti-Vn blocking antibodies, but not by anti-β1 integrin antibodies. Anchorage of carcinoma cells led to the rupture of endothelial integrity, as revealed by the formation of holes in the monolayer and by the disappearance of the interendothelial VE-Cadherin network. Considering the ability of ovarian carcinoma to disseminate by a haematogenous way, these in vitro events could mimic a preliminary step for carcinoma cells crossing the endothelial barrier to extravasate.