Nineteen patients with bronchogenic carcinoma were studied by MR imaging to determine the presence of chest-wall invasion. All studies were carried out at 1.5 T, and the results were correlated with chest radiographs or CT scans. All MR studies were interpreted before surgery (13 cases) and without knowledge of the results of other radiologic studies. MR findings indicative of chest wall invasion included a high-signal focus within the chest wall and/or chest-wall thickening with increased signal on spin-echo (SE) images having a repetition time of 2500 msec and an echo time of 50-100 msec (SE 2500/50-100). In one case, noncontour-deforming high-signal intensity within chest-wall musculature (but no other abnormality) was demonstrated on SE 2500/50-100 images. Coronal or sagittal imaging facilitated identification of tumor contiguity with extrathoracic structures in apical lesions. Contrast differences between normal and invaded chest wall on T2-weighted images were the most helpful in assessing chest-wall involvement. These preliminary observations indicate that MR imaging is useful in the evaluation of chest-wall invasion by carcinoma of the lung.