Cytokines are key players in the initiation and propagation of inflammation in chronic inflammatory airway diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis and allergic asthma. This makes them attractive targets for specific novel anti-inflammatory treatment strategies. Recently, both interleukin-1 (IL-1) and IL-6 have been associated with negative health outcomes, mortality and a pro-inflammatory phenotype in COPD. IL-6 in COPD was shown to correlate negatively with lung function, and IL-1beta was induced by cigarette smoke in the bronchial epithelium, causing airway inflammation. Furthermore, IL-8 has been shown to be a pro-inflammatory marker in bronchiectasis, COPD and allergic asthma. Clinical trials using specific cytokine blockade therapies are currently emerging and have contributed to reduce exacerbations and steroid use in COPD. Here, we present a review of the current understanding of the roles of cytokines in the pathophysiology of chronic inflammatory airway diseases. Furthermore, outcomes of clinical trials in cytokine blockade as novel treatment strategies for selected patient populations with those diseases will be discussed.