Systemic inflammation plays an important role in the initiation, promotion, and progression of lung carcinogenesis. The effects of interventions to lower inflammation have not been explored. Accordingly, we conducted a pilot study to explore the effects of exercise training on changes in biomarkers of systemic inflammation among patients with malignant lung lesions. Using a single-group design, 12 patients with suspected operable lung cancer were provided with structured exercise training until surgical resection. Participants underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing, 6 min walk testing, pulmonary function testing, and blood collection at baseline and immediately prior to surgical resection. Systemic inflammatory markers included intracellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. The overall exercise adherence rate was 78%, with patients completing a mean of 30 +/- 25 sessions. Mean peak oxygen consumption increased 2.9 mL.kg-1.min-1 from baseline to presurgery (p = 0.016). Results indicate that exercise training resulted in a significant reduction in ICAM-1 (p = 0.041). Changes in other inflammatory markers did not reach statistical significance. Change in cardiorespiratory fitness was not associated with change in systemic inflammatory markers. This exploratory study provides an initial step for future studies to elucidate the potential role of exercise, as well as identify the underlying mechanisms of action, as a means of modulating the relationship between inflammation and cancer pathogenesis.