The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcome of treatment for patients with newly diagnosed nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with an isolated, single, synchronous brain metastasis. A retrospective review was performed evaluating any patient diagnosed between 1982 and 1996 at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation with NSCLC metastatic only to the brain. Patients with multiple brain metastases or with systemic metastases to any other organ were excluded. Survival was measured from the date of the first treatment for malignancy. All hospital records were thoroughly reviewed in a retrospective manner. Thirty-three patients were identified who met the study criteria. Twelve patients had primary disease limited to the lung and hilar nodes, and 21 had more advanced primary disease with involvement of the mediastinum. Treatment of the chest was considered aggressive in 13 patients and palliative in 15. The primary tumor was observed in 5 patients. The management of the brain metastasis was as follows: 21 patients underwent surgical resection and postoperative whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT), 5 underwent stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and WBRT, 3 had resection alone, 2 had SRS alone, and 2 underwent WBRT alone. The median overall and disease-free survival for all patients was 6.9 months and 3.3 months, respectively. Overall survival was markedly improved with the addition of WBRT (P = 0.002) and with the aggressive management of the primary tumor (P = 0.005). A total of 9 patients experienced CNS failure, including both patients receiving WBRT alone. CNS failures were divided as follows: 3 local, 5 distant, and 1 local and distant. Two of the 4 patients with a local failure were salvaged, and ultimate local control of the original brain metastasis was achieved in 93.6% of cases. Survival remains poor for patients with Stage IV NSCLC even when metastatic disease is limited to a single site within the brain; however, aggressive therapy of both the lung primary and the brain metastasis may provide a survival advantage. Excellent local control of single brain metastases was achieved with a combination of WBRT with either surgical resection or SRS.