Purpose: The purpose of this study is to review the literature examining how the beliefs and behaviours of physicians and patients influence clinical communication, doctor-patient interaction and treatment decisions for lung cancer treatment. Methods: Literature was obtained via electronic database searches and hand searching of journals from 1990 to 2011. Results: Wide variability in perceptions of the value of chemotherapy in lung cancer is present among both physicians and patients. There is a mismatch in the degree patients and physicians weigh survival, such that patients value survival benefits highly whilst physicians strongly emphasize toxicity and associated symptoms. This lack of congruence between patients and clinicians is influenced by a range of factors and has implications for treatment decisions, long-term survival and quality of life in people affected by lung cancer. Conclusion: The divergence of treatment priorities indicates a need for improved communication strategies addressing the needs and concerns of both patients and clinicians. Patients should understand the benefits and risks of treatment options, while clinicians can gain a greater awareness of factors influencing patients' decisions on treatments. Reflecting these perspectives and patient preferences for lung cancer treatment in clinical guidelines may improve clinician awareness. �� 2011 Springer-Verlag.