This study was undertaken to determine how much agreement was prevalent in the criteria of functional operability (a patient's capacity for tolerating surgery) and oncological operability (the preoperative assessment of the potential for excising all tumoral tissue with a prognostically favorable result) used in the hospitals participating in the Bronchogenic Carcinoma Cooperative Group of the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (GCCB-S). The GCCB-S includes 17 hospitals in which all consecutive cases of lung cancer in which thoracotomy is performed have been registered since 1993. A survey was sent to all participating centers requesting a semiquantitative evaluation of the level of agreement between the functional and oncological operability criteria used in the hospital and the functional and oncological operability criteria established by consensus among the members of the Coordinating Group of the GCCB-S. The consensus criteria were established mainly by evaluating evidence from the literature. Fourteen hospitals completed the survey: in 13 hospitals (93%) the consensus functional operability criteria were used 'just about always' (in more than 90% of cases) and in one hospital 'almost always' (between 80 and 90% of cases). In 14 hospitals the consensus oncological operability criteria were used 'just about always' (more than 90% of cases), although in five centers (36%) other tests, mainly abdominal imaging, were also used systematically. In conclusion, this GCCB-S study detected a broad agreement among the participating hospitals as to the minimal criteria for preoperative evaluation of the operability of patients with lung cancer.