The tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva) have shown anti-tumor activity in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Dramatic and durable responses have occurred in NSCLC tumors with mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In contrast, these inhibitors have shown limited efficacy in glioblastoma, where a distinct EGFR mutation, the variant III (vIII) in-frame deletion of exons 2-7, is commonly found. In this study, we determined that EGFRvIII mutation was present in 5% (3/56) of analyzed human lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) but was not present in human lung adenocarcinoma (0/123). We analyzed the role of the EGFRvIII mutation in lung tumorigenesis and its response to tyrosine kinase inhibition. Tissue-specific expression of EGFRvIII in the murine lung led to the development of NSCLC. Most importantly, these lung tumors depend on EGFRvIII expression for maintenance. Treatment with an irreversible EGFR inhibitor, HKI-272, dramatically reduced the size of these EGFRvIII-driven murine tumors in 1 week. Similarly, Ba/F3 cells transformed with the EGFRvIII mutant were relatively resistant to gefitinib and erlotinib in vitro but proved sensitive to HKI-272. These findings suggest a therapeutic strategy for cancers harboring the EGFRvIII mutation.