Airway disease in cystic fibrosis (CF) is characterised by a continuous cycle of chronic infection and inflammation dominated by a neutrophilic infiltrate. This inflammation is characterised by an increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the lung. The relationship between the abnormal CFTR gene product and the development of inflammation and progression of lung disease in CF is not fully understood. This review article studied the mechanisms of pulmonary inflammation in CF, the profiles of cytokines and inflammatory mediators in the lung in CF, the mechanisms that predispose to chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, cytokine involvement in diseases other than CF and reviewed current therapeutic strategies for CF. Imbalances of cytokine secretion are now better understood due to recent advances in understanding CF at a molecular level and it is increasingly thought that the normal inflammatory process is deranged in CF early in the course of the disease and may occur in the absence of detectable infection. However, the relationship between this unbalanced cytokine production, the mutations in CFTR and its actual consequence for pathogenesis need further investigation.