We show that increased plasma superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) levels are statistically significant predictors of the failure of pentavalent antimony treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania braziliensis. In Leishmania amazonensis–infected patients, host SOD1 levels can be used to discriminate between localized and drug-resistant diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis. Using in situ transcriptomics (nCounter), we demonstrate a significant positive correlation between host SOD1 and interferon α/β messenger RNA (mRNA) levels, as well as interkingdom correlation between host SOD1 and parasite SOD2/4 mRNA levels. In human macrophages, in vitro treatment with SOD1 increases the parasite burden and induces a diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis–like morphology. Thus, SOD1 is a clinically relevant biomarker and a therapeutic target in both localized and diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis.