Despite advances in perinatal care, the outcome of newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is poor and the issue still remains challenging in neonatology. The use of an easily approachable and practical biomarker not only could identify neonates with severe brain damage and subsequent adverse outcome, but could also target the group of infants that would benefit from a neuroprotective intervention. Recent studies have suggested interleukin-1b, interleukin-6, tumour necrosis alpha (TNF-a) and neuron specific enolase (NSE) to be potential biomarkers of brain damage in asphyxiated newborns. S100B, lactate dehydrogenase, nitrated albumin-nitrotyrosine, adrenomedullin, activin-A, non protein bound iron, isoprostanes, vascular endothelial growth factor and metalloproteinases have also been proposed by single-centre studies to play a similar role in the field. With this review we aim to provide an overview of existing data in the literature regarding biomarkers for neonatal brain damage.