We reviewed the records of patients treated for single brain metastases from non-small-cell lung cancer for 1978 through 1982. Forty-three patients received surgical treatment, including 37 who had surgery plus postoperative whole-brain radiation therapy and 6 patients who had surgery after failing to respond to radiation therapy. The surgically treated patients were matched with 43 patients treated with radiation therapy alone. The combined therapy group had significantly longer survivals than those treated with radiation therapy alone (19 months versus 9 months). The rates of local recurrence and neurologically related deaths were significantly higher in the radiation therapy-alone group. Patients treated with combined therapy survived longer, and the increased survival was due to lower recurrence of brain metastases after surgery and fewer neurologically related deaths.