OBJECTIVES Despite progress in identifying molecular pathophysiological processes in schizophrenia, valid biomarkers are lacking for both the disease and treatment response. METHODS This comprehensive review summarises recent efforts to identify molecular mechanisms on the level of protein and gene expression and epigenetics, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and micro RNA expression. Furthermore, it summarises recent findings of alterations in lipid mediators and highlights inflammatory processes. The potential that this research will identify biomarkers of schizophrenia is discussed. RESULTS Recent studies have not identified clear biomarkers for schizophrenia. Although several molecular pathways have emerged as potential candidates for future research, a complete understanding of these metabolic pathways is required to reveal better treatment modalities for this disabling condition. CONCLUSIONS Large longitudinal cohort studies are essential that pair a thorough phenotypic and clinical evaluation for example with gene expression and proteome analysis in blood at multiple time points. This approach might identify biomarkers that allow patients to be stratified according to treatment response and ideally also allow treatment response to be predicted. Improved knowledge of molecular pathways and epigenetic mechanisms, including their potential association with environmental influences, will facilitate the discovery of biomarkers that could ultimately be effective tools in clinical practice.