Lung cancer is the leading global cause of cancer-related mortality. Inter-individual variability in treatment response and prognosis has been associated with genetic polymorphisms in specific genes: EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, PTEN and TTF-1. Somatic mutations in EGFR and KRAS genes are reported at rates of 15–40% in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in ethnically diverse populations. BRAF and PTEN are commonly mutated genes in various cancer types, including NSCLC, with PTEN mutations exerting an effect on the therapeutic response of EGFR/AKT/PI3K pathway inhibitors. TTF-1 is expressed in approximately 80% of lung adenocarcinomas and its positivity correlates with higher prevalence of EGFR mutation in this cancer type. To determine molecular markers for lung cancer in Brazilian patients, the rate of the predominant EGFR, KRAS, BRAF and PTEN mutations, as well as TTF-1 expression, was assessed in 88 Brazilian NSCLC patients. EGFR exon 19 deletions (del746–750) were detected in 3/88 (3·4%) patients. Activating KRAS mutations in codons 12 and 61 were noted in five (5·7%) and two (2·3%) patients, respectively. None of the common somatic mutations were detected in either the BRAF or PTEN genes. TTF-1 was overexpressed in 40·7% of squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC). Our findings add to a growing body of data that highlights the genetic heterogeneity of the abnormal EGFR pathway in lung cancer among ethnically diverse populations.