To complement the existing treatment guidelines for all tumour types, ESMO organises consensus conferences to focus on specific issues in each type of tumour. The 2nd ESMO Consensus Conference on Lung Cancer was held on 11-12 May 2013 in Lugano. A total of 35 experts met to address several questions on non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in each of four areas: pathology and molecular biomarkers, first-line/second and further lines in advanced disease, early-stage disease and locally advanced disease. For each question, recommendations were made including reference to the grade of recommendation and level of evidence. This consensus paper focuses on early-stage disease.