© 2014 The Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. Objectives: Metabonomics is a powerful and promising analytic tool that allows assessment of global low-molecular-weight metabolites in biological systems. It has a great potential for identifying useful biomarkers for early diagnosis, prognosis and assessment of therapeutic interventions in clinical practice. The aim of this review is to provide a brief summary of the recent advances in UPLC-based metabonomic approach for biomarker discovery in a variety of diseases, and to discuss their significance in clinical chemistry. Design and methods: All the available information on UPLC-based metabonomic applications for discovering biomarkers of diseases were collected via a library and electronic search (using Web of Science, Pubmed, ScienceDirect, Springer, Google Scholar, etc.). Results: Metabonomics has been used in clinical chemistry to identify and evaluate potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets in various diseases affecting the liver (hepatocarcinoma and liver cirrhosis), lung (lung cancer and pneumonia), gastrointestinal tract (colorectal cancer) and urogenital tract (prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and chronic kidney disease), as well as metabolic diseases (diabetes) and neuropsychiatric disorders (Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia), etc. Conclusions: The information provided highlights the potential value of determination of endogenous low-molecular-weight metabolites and the advantages and potential drawbacks of the application of UPLC-based metabonomics in clinical setting.