BACKGROUND: Biomarkers have been intensively studied in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in recent years. In the context of the CAPNETZ study we had the unique opportunity to evaluate old and new biomarkers in a multicentre study with a high number of patients. RESULTS: In several substudies we found the following results: procalcitonin, CRP and leukocytes show highest values in patients with typical bacterial etiology of CAP, but do not allow individual prediction of etiology. Patients without antibiotic pre-treatment show higher values of biomarkers compared to patients with antibiotic pre-treatment. New cardiovascular biomarkers are good predictors for short- and long-term mortality in CAP, superior to the inflammatory markers procalcitonin, CRP and leukocytes and at least comparable to the clinical CRB-65 score. Pro-Adrenomedullin is among the new biomarkers the one with the best prognostic value. CONCLUSIONS: Biomarkers correlate with the severity of CAP but do not allow individual prediction of etiology. New cardiovascular biomarkers are suitable for the evaluation of short- and long-term prognosis in CAP. The combination of several biomarkers reflecting different pathophysiological pathways has the potential to improve management of CAP in the future.