Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Despite evidence of molecular abnormalities in biological specimens, progress in this disease is hampered by the lack of diagnostic markers useful for clinical practice. The majority of patients with lung cancer are still diagnosed at an advanced stage, when prognosis is poor. This article reviews new strategies being studied for the early detection of lung cancer. These strategies involve new methods of imaging (including low-dose computed tomography [CT] scanning), DNA analysis, and proteomic-based techniques. These strategies have not only improved our understanding of lung cancer but show promise in offering better survival to patients with this deadly disease. Of paramount importance in the search for methods of early detection is the need for the identification of the ideal population to screen, a multidisciplinary approach, and validation of promising techniques.