BACKGROUND: The relationship between endocan expression and outcome in patients with chronic liver disease is not fully understood.OBJECTIVE: To examine whether serum endocan level is predictive of outcome in patients with liver cirrhosis.METHODS: A total of 68 patients with liver cirrhosis were enrolled. Outcome predictors were analyzed using the Cox proportional hazards model. The overall survival rates were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and differences were evaluated using the log-rank test.RESULTS: During the median follow-up period (7.1 years), nine patients had hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and 10 patients died. Of the deceased patients, nine died due to hepatic decompensation or associated conditions. No significant factors were found to be predictive of the occurrence of HCC. In contrast, an elevated serum endocan level (≥2.0 ng/mL; HR 2.34 [95% CI 1.05 to 7.03]; P=0.037) and high Child-Pugh grade B/C (HR 2.65 [95% CI 1.30 to 6.89; P=0.006) were predictive of poor survival. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the respective cumulative survival rates at five and 10 years were 97.1% and 87.4% in patients with serum endocan levels <2.0 ng/mL and 85.8% and 64.4% in patients with levels ≥2.0 ng/mL (P=0.009), respectively. Moreover, the cumulative survival rates were significantly different among the patient groups divided according to serum endocan level and Child-Pugh grade (P=0.002).CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that serum endocan level may be a survival predictor for patients with liver cirrhosis.