Up to 50% of epithelial ovarian cancers (EOC) display defects in the homologous recombination (HR) pathway. We sought to determine the ramifications of the homologous recombination-deficient (HRD) status on the clinicopathologic features, chemotherapy response, and survival outcomes of patients with EOCs. HR status was determined in primary cultures from ascitic fluid in 50 chemotherapy-naïve patients by a functional RAD51 immunofluorescence assay and correlated with in vitro sensitivity to the PARP inhibitor (PARPi), rucaparib. All patients went on to receive platinum-based chemotherapy; platinum sensitivity, tumor progression, and overall survival were compared prospectively in HR-competent versus HRD patients. Compared with HR-competent patients, the HRD group was predominantly serous with a higher median CA125 at presentation. HRD was associated with higher ex vivo PARPi sensitivity and clinical platinum sensitivity. Median follow-up duration was 14 months; patients in the HRD group had lower tumor progression rates at 6 months, lower overall/disease-specific death rates at 12 months, and higher median survival. We therefore suggest that HRD as predicted by a functional RAD51 assay correlates with in vitro PARPi sensitivity, clinical platinum sensitivity, and improved survival outcome.