Incidence of atherosclerosis and atherosclerosis-related complications will increase significantly in the coming decennia. Research identified many serum and plasma markers that are associated with cardiovascular disease. However, little is known about the prognostic value of these markers to identify patients at risk for future cardiovascular events. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the prognostic value of three of these markers (soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL)) with respect to coronary vascular disease and stroke. For this reason the Medline database was searched for the period January 1999-January 2005. To be selected in our study, concentration of the marker had to be determined at baseline, follow-up period had to be longer than 3 months and an estimate of relative risk had to be available. Based on these criteria, 4 studies for sCD40L, 10 for IL-6 and 2 for oxLDL were selected. Relative risk estimates adjusted for potential confounders varied between 1.9 and 2.8 for sCD40L, between 1.1 and 3.1 for IL-6 and between 1.9 and 3.2 for oxLDL. In conclusion, this systematic review shows that sCD40L, IL-6 and oxLDL are associated with an increased relative risk of developing cardiovascular disease.