We evaluated the effectiveness of neurologic examination, electroencephalography (EEG), and computed tomography (CT) in the initial staging of patients with nonsmall cell carcinoma. Eight of 66 patients had evidence of intracranial metastases. Three of these had no other metastases and would otherwise have been surgical candidates. Thus, thorough investigation for evidence of intracranial metastases is warranted at the time of initial staging. The CT proved to be more effective than clinical evaluation or EEG, alone or in combination, in detecting intracranial metastases. The CT screeining of patients prior to curative resection should increase the success rate for such procedures by eliminating patients with preexisting metastases.