Objective HE4 has emerged as a promising biomarker in gynaecological oncology. The purpose of this study was to evaluate serum HE4 as a biomarker for high-risk phenotypes in a population-based endometrial cancer cohort. Methods Peri-operative serum HE4 and CA125 were measured in 373 patients identified from the prospective Australian National Endometrial Cancer Study (ANECS). HE4 and CA125 were quantified on the ARCHITECT instrument in a clinically accredited laboratory. Receiver operator curves (ROC), Spearman rank correlation coefficient, and chi-squared and Mann–Whitney tests were used for statistical analysis. Survival analysis was performed using Kaplan–Meier and Cox multivariate regression analyses. Results Median CA125 and HE4 levels were higher in stage III and IV tumours (p < 0.001) and in tumours with outer-half myometrial invasion (p < 0.001). ROC analysis demonstrated that HE4 (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.76) was a better predictor of outer-half myometrial invasion than CA125 (AUC = 0.65), particularly in patients with low-grade endometrioid tumours (AUC 0.77 vs 0.64 for CA125). Cox multivariate analysis demonstrated that elevated HE4 was an independent predictor of recurrence-free survival (HR = 2.40, 95% CI 1.19–4.83, p = 0.014) after adjusting for stage and grade of disease, particularly in the endometrioid subtype (HR = 2.86, 95% CI 1.25–6.51, p = 0.012). Conclusion These findings demonstrate the utility of serum HE4 as a prognostic biomarker in endometrial cancer in a large, population-based study. In particular they highlight the utility of HE4 for pre-operative risk stratification to identify high-risk patients within low-grade endometrioid endometrial cancer patients who might benefit from lymphadenectomy.