To assess activity and toxicity of gemcitabine treatment in heavily pretreated epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients and compare the outcome between platinum-sensitive and platinum-resistant patients. We conducted a retrospective analysis of 43 women with EOC treated with gemcitabine on Days 1, 8 and 15 every 28 days. Response was evaluated by physical examination and serial CA 125 measurements. The patients (median age 62 years, range 29-87) were previously exposed to a median of 3 (2-8) chemotherapy regimens. A median of 3.5 (1-14) gemcitabine cycles were administered. Eleven (25.6%) patients showed partial response, 19 (44.2%) had stable disease and 13 (30.2%) progressed. Among 22 platinum-sensitive and 21 platinum-resistant patients, the response rate was 45.5% and 4.7% respectively (p=0.001), and the median time to progression was 5.0 and 2.8 months, respectively (p=0.0006). The respective median survival was 16.5 and 6.3 months (p=0.0001). Grade III-IV hematological toxicities included anemia in four (9.3%) patients, thrombocytopenia in four (9.3%) and leucopenia in two (4.7%). The main non-hematological toxicities were grade III fatigue in two patients (4.7%) and nausea and vomiting in two (4.7%). Single agent gemcitabine is an attractive option for heavily pretreated EOC patients. The significant difference between platinum-sensitive and resistant patients' warrants further investigation.