A comprehensive evaluation of cytokine levels in patients with gliomas could provide important information for the progression and host responses of gliomas. We studied a panel of 120 cytokines and growth factors and investigated their prognostic values for glioma. A protein antibody array was first performed to study the prognostic significance of 120 cytokines in the plasma samples of 45 glioblastoma patients prior to craniotomy or biopsy procedure. An independent set of plasma samples from 260 patients with astrocytomas (80 grade II, 80 grade III, 100 grade IV) with complete clinicopathologic data and follow-ups were used for validation. Ten cytokines were identified by significance analysis of microarray, in which four were associated with poor prognosis (IL-15, MCP-1, GDNF, IL-1R4/ST2), and six were associated with good prognosis (IGFBP-6, MIP-1δ, ICAM-3, IL-7, MIP-3β, and sgp130) of the glioblastoma patients. Moreover, a 4-cytokine panel composed of IL-7, IL1R4/ST2, sgp130 and MCP-1 showed significant correlation with overall survival of the glioblastoma patients (HR 2.068; 95 % CI 1.357-3.153; p = 0.001). In the validation set, the cytokine panel was significantly correlated with overall survival in the 260 glioma patients (HR 3.480, 95 % CI 1.890-6.422) in multivariate Cox regression analysis. It also showed strong correlation with survival in patients with malignant gliomas (grade III: HR 2.790, 95 % CI 1.597-3.984, p = 0.002; grade IV: HR 1.753; 95 % CI 1.502-2.255, p < 0.001). This panel of four cytokines: IL-7, IL1R4/ST2, sgp130, and MCP-1 can serve as a prognostic marker for patients with malignant gliomas.