BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: YKL-40 is a glycoprotein that is expressed in many types of cancer cells. In some cancers, there is a correlation between high serum YKL-40 levels on the one hand and more aggressive disease and early death on the other. YKL-40 has never been studied in patients with soft-tissue sarcomas (STSs). We investigated whether YKL-40 is expressed in STS tissue and ascertained that the degree of expression is related to survival and/or the histological grade of the malignancy (FNCLCC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: We included archived tissue from 49 patients (40 with STS and 9 with atypical lipomatous tumor, 20 female and 29 male, mean age 58 (4-89) years) who were treated with tumor resection in 2004 or 2005 at the Department of Orthopedics, Rigshospitalet. The minimum length of follow-up with respect to survival was 5-7 years. Immunohistochemical analysis with anti-YKL-40 antibody using tissue microarray was performed on resected tumors, and a semiquantitative measure of the intensity of YKL-40 staining was performed. RESULTS: 41 of the 49 tumors were positive for YKL-40, and of these, 36 had moderate to intense staining. 24 of the patients died within the follow-up period, and the intensity of YKL-40 staining was significantly higher in tumors from patients who had died in the follow-up period than in tumors from those who survived (p = 0.01). The staining intensity was different for the 3 grades of malignancy (p = 0.004): it was higher in highly malignant tumors (FNCLCC grade 2 and grade 3) than in low-malignancy tumors (grade 1). INTERPRETATION: YKL-40 is expressed in soft-tissue sarcomas. There is a correlation between expression of YKL-40 in STS and both histological grade of the malignancy and survival. Whether or not YKL-40 expression is an independent prognostic variable could not be determined in the present study.