Currently, serum biomarkers might usually be thought not to be used for early detection of lung cancer by some researchers. In this study, we used a highly optimized ClinProt-matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of flight mass spectrometer (MALDI-TOF-MS) to screen non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) markers in serum. A training set of spectra derived from 45 NSCLC patients, 24 patients with benign lung diseases (BLDs) and 21 healthy individuals, was used to develop a proteomic pattern that discriminated cancer from non-cancer effectively. A test set, including 74 cases (29 NSCLC patients and 45 controls), was used to validate this pattern. After cross-validation, the classifier showed sensitivity and specificity, 86.20% and 80.00%, respectively. Remarkably, 100% of early stage serum samples could be correctly classified as lung cancer. Furthermore, the differential peptides of 1865Da and 4209Da were identified as element of component 3 and eukaryotic peptide chain release factor GTP-binding subunit ERF, respectively. The patterns we described and peptides we identified may have clinical utility as surrogate markers for detection and classification of NSCLC.