Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by the development of autoantibodies to nuclear antigens and inflammatory responses mediated by multiple cytokines. Although previous studies have determined clinical associations between SLE and the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10 and IL-37, their role in the disease, or their potential as biomarkers, remains unclear. We examined serum levels of IL-10 and IL-37 in a large cohort of SLE patients, with detailed longitudinal clinical data. We demonstrate a statistically significant association of serum IL-10 with disease activity, with higher levels in active compared to inactive disease. High first visit IL-10 was predictive of high subsequent disease activity; patients with IL-10 in highest quartile at first visit were 3.6 times more likely to have active disease in subsequent visits. Serum IL-37 was also higher in SLE patients compared to control, and was strongly associated with Asian ethnicity. However, IL-37 was not statistically significantly associated with disease activity. IL-37 was significantly reduced in patients with organ damage but this association was attenuated in multivariable analysis. The data suggest that IL-10, but not IL-37, may have potential as a biomarker predictive for disease activity in SLE.