Background Although programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1)/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors have shown prominent efficacy for treatment of advanced lung cancer, the outcomes of metastatic lung cancer remain poor throughout the world. Although progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) have improved in the first- and second-line therapy settings for advanced lung cancer, the response rates to PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition range from 20% to 40%. Furthermore, patients may be at risk for immune-related adverse events (irAEs); hence, appropriate patient selection is crucial. This study aimed to identify a panel of plasma cytokines representing prognostic and predictive biomarkers of the response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 treatment. Methods We prospectively studied 32 lung cancer patients who received anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibody immunotherapy. Plasma cytokines in peripheral blood samples were evaluated and analyzed using flow cytometry at the time of diagnosis and at 2 months after the initiation of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition. Results The baseline plasma concentrations of interleukin-18 (IL-18) and C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 10 (CXCL10) were correlated with the degree of tumor response. Moreover, the magnitude of plasma IL-18 and CXCL10 level fluctuations were correlated significantly with the objective tumor response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy, and patients with high CXCL10 expression had significantly shorter PFS than those with low CXCL10 expression. A strong positive correlation between the fluctuation of IL-18 and interleukin-8 (IL-8) levels was detected, as was a negative correlation between the fluctuation of IL-18 and CXCL10 levels. The level of plasma C-C motif chemokine ligand 5 (CCL5) was significantly higher in patients with irAEs than in those without irAEs. Conclusions Plasma cytokines are related to the clinical efficacy of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors. IL-18 and CXCL10 are potential predictive markers for anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy in lung cancer patients and may play an important role in selecting patients who would benefit from PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors.