Background There is currently no Europe-wide consensus on the appropriate preanalytical measures and workflow to optimise procedures for tissue-based molecular testing of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To address this, a group of lung cancer experts (see list of authors) convened to discuss and propose standard operating procedures (SOPs) for NSCLC. Methods Based on earlier meetings and scientific expertise on lung cancer, a multidisciplinary group meeting was aligned. The aim was to include all relevant aspects concerning NSCLC diagnosis. After careful consideration, the following topics were selected and each was reviewed by the experts: surgical resection and sampling; biopsy procedures for analysis; preanalytical and other variables affecting quality of tissue; tissue conservation; testing procedures for epidermal growth factor receptor, anaplastic lymphoma kinase and ROS proto-oncogene 1, receptor tyrosine kinase (ROS1) in lung tissue and cytological specimens; as well as standardised reporting and quality control (QC). Finally, an optimal workflow was described. Results Suggested optimal procedures and workflows are discussed in detail. The broad consensus was that the complex workflow presented can only be executed effectively by an interdisciplinary approach using a well-trained team. Conclusions To optimise diagnosis and treatment of patients with NSCLC, it is essential to establish SOPs that are adaptable to the local situation. In addition, a continuous QC system and a local multidisciplinary tumour-type-oriented board are essential.