Background and purpose: Inflammation comprises important aspects of large-artery atherosclerosis (LAA) stroke pathophysiology. YKL-40 is a new and emerging biomarker that is associated with both acute and chronic inflammations. Elevated serum concentrations of YKL-40 have been reported in patients with atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. This study investigates whether serum YKL-40 concentrations on admission can predict 3-month clinical outcomes after LAA stroke. Methods: We recruited control patients (n=85) and those with LAA stroke (n=141) according to the TOAST classification system. The modified Rankin scale at 3 months after stroke was used to evaluate the prognosis. The prognostic accuracy was assessed by the receiver operating characteristic curve. Results: Serum YKL-40 level was significantly higher for LAA patients than for controls (P<.001). Patients with poor outcomes (n=36) had significantly increased serum YKL-40 concentrations on admission (P=.01). High YKL-40 levels predicted poor functional outcome (OR=6.47, P=.02). Moreover, the combination of YKL-40 level and the NIHSS score could improve the prognostic accuracy of the NIHSS in predicting functional outcome (combined areas under the curve, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80-0.94; P<.001). Conclusions: The level of serum YKL-40 is a significant and independent biomarker to predict the clinical outcome of LAA stroke.