Surgery is the only method of cure in lung cancer. Seldom its application with radical intent is possible. Despite the efforts aimed at integrating all the therapeutic strategies, the overall outcome of the management of this disease remains disappointing. For this reason, in the last three decades, thousands of preclinical and clinical attempts have been realised in order to investigate any possible way to cure this disease and significant steps forward have been made on the basis of the increasing “molecular knowledge” in the so called “post-genomic era”. Particularly the impressive step forward in the biological characterization of cancer as a result of genetic / epigenetic multistep process has brought in a multitude of variables with staggering classification potentialities. “Benchside” and “bedside” scientists have assembled in functional teams to move the common efforts “translationally” to bridge basic and clinical research for a mutual synergistic enhancement. This paper represents the effort of a lung cancer focused translational research team made up of molecular biologists, medical oncologists and thoracic surgeons to achieve a comprehensive, but simple, review of the current status of the shift from cytotoxic to molecularly targeted therapy in lung cancer treatment potentially useful in the planning of translational research trials.