Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in both the USA and Taiwan, and it is thought that the cause of cancer could be because of the gain of function of an oncoprotein or the loss of function of a tumour suppressor protein. Consequently, these proteins are potential targets for drugs. In this study, differentially expressed genes are identified, via an expression dataset generated from lung adenocarcinoma tumour and adjacent non-tumour tissues. This study has integrated many complementary resources, that is, microarray, protein-protein interaction and protein complex. After constructing the lung cancer protein-protein interaction network (PPIN), the authors performed graph theory analysis of PPIN. Highly dense modules are identified, which are potential cancer-associated protein complexes. Up- and down-regulated communities were used as queries to perform functional enrichment analysis. Enriched biological processes and pathways are determined. These sets of up- and down-regulated genes were submitted to the Connectivity Map web resource to identify potential drugs. The authors' findings suggested that eight drugs from DrugBank and three drugs from NCBI can potentially reverse certain up- and down-regulated genes' expression. In conclusion, this study provides a systematic strategy to discover potential drugs and target genes for lung cancer.