Résumé : Radiotherapy plays a major role as a curative treatment of various stages non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC): As an exclusive treatment in curative attempt for patients with unresectable stages I and II; as a preoperative treatment, which is often associated with chemotherapy, for patients with surgically stage IIIA NSCLC in clinical trials; in association with chemotherapy for unresectable stages IIIA and IIIB patients. Currently, three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy allows for some dose escalation, increasing radiation quality. However, the high inherent conformality of this radiotherapy technique requires a rigorous approach and an optimal quality of the preparation throughout the treatment procedure and specifically of the accurate definition of the safety margins (GTV, CTV...). Different questions remain specific to lung cancers: 1) Despite the absence of randomized trials, the irradiated lymph nodes volume should be only, for the majority of the authors, the visible macroscopically involved lymph nodal regions. However, local control remains low and solid arguments suggest the poor local control is due to an insufficient delivered dose. Therefore the goal of radiotherapy, in this particular location, is to improve local control by increasing the dose until the maximum normal tissue tolerance is achieved, which essentially depends on the dose to the organs at risk (OAR) and specifically for the lung, the esophagus and the spinal cord. For this reason, the irradiated volume should be as tiny as possible, leading to not including the macroscopically uninvolved lymph nodes regions in prophylactic view in the target volume; 2) The lung is one of the rare organs with extensive motion within the body, making lung tumors difficult to treat. This particular point is not specifically considered in the GTV and CTV definitions but it is important enough to be noted; 3) When radiation therapy starts after a good response to chemotherapy, the residual tumoral volume should be defined as the target volume in place of the initial tumor volume. These different elements are discussed in this paper. © 2001 Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS.