We analyzed 49 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer invading mediastinal organs such as the left atrium (15), superior vena cava (13), trachea (11), aorta (5), thoracic vertebral body (4) and esophagus (1). Lung resection included lobectomy (37), pneumonectomy (8) and limited resection (4). Twenty-seven patients underwent carina- or bronchoplasty. Complete resection was possible in 35 patients. Operative mortality was 12% and overall 5-year survival was 13%. Median survival time was 519 days. Factors significantly affecting survival were the completeness of resection, node status, and histological type. Five-year survival was 18% with complete resection and 0% with incomplete resection (p < 0.0001). Five-year survival for patients with squamous cell carcinoma was 36% and for those with other types of lung cancer, 0% (p < 0.02). Five-year survival for patients classified pathologically as N0 or N1 was 36% and, for those classified as N2 or N3, 0% (p < 0.05). We concluded that aggressive resection for lung cancer invading the mediastinal organs involves a high mortality rate, making selectivity important. Patients undergoing complete resection, classified as N0 or N1, and having squamouse cell carcinoma may benefit most from surgery.