Background: Distinguishing lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) from squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has a tremendous therapeutic implication. Sometimes, the commonly used immunohistochemistry (IHC) markers fail to discriminate between them, urging for the identification of new diagnostic biomarkers. Methods: We performed IHC on tissue microarrays from two cohorts of lung cancer patients to analyse the expression of beta-arrestin-1, beta-arrestin-2 and clinically used diagnostic markers in ADC and SCC samples. Logistic regression models were applied for tumour subtype prediction. Parallel reaction monitoring (PRM)-based mass spectrometry was used to quantify beta-arrestin-1 in plasma from cancer patients and healthy donors. Results: Beta-arrestin-1 expression was significantly higher in ADC versus SCC samples. Beta-arrestin-1 displayed high sensitivity, specificity and negative predictive value. Its usefulness in an IHC panel was also shown. Plasma beta-arrestin-1 levels were considerably higher in lung cancer patients than in healthy donors and were higher in patients who later experienced a progressive disease than in patients showing complete/partial response following EGFR inhibitor therapy. Conclusions: Our data identify beta-arrestin-1 as a diagnostic marker to differentiate ADC from SCC and indicate its potential as a plasma biomarker for non-invasive diagnosis of lung cancer. Its utility to predict response to EGFR inhibitors is yet to be confirmed.