In recent years, immunotherapy has revolutionized and changed the standard of care in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Immune checkpoint inhibitors, fundamentally those that act by blocking the programmed cell death receptor-1 (PD-1) and its ligand the programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) have emerged as novel treatment strategies in NSCLC, demonstrating undoubted superiority over chemotherapy in terms of efficacy. Several of these immune checkpoint modulators have recently gained regulatory approval for the treatment of advanced NSCLC, such as nivolumab, atezolizumab and pembrolizumab in first-line (only the latter) and second-line settings, and more recently, durvalumab as maintenance after chemoradiotherapy in locally advanced disease. There is consensus that PD-L1 expression on tumor cells predicts responsiveness to PD-1 inhibitors in several tumor types. Hence PD-L1 expression evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) is currently used as a clinical decision-making tool to support the use of checkpoint inhibitors in NSCLC patients. However, the value of PD-L1 as the ‘definitive’ biomarker is controversial as its testing is puzzled by multiple unsolved issues such as the use of different staining platforms and antibodies, the type of cells in which PD-L1 is assessed (tumor versus immune cells), thresholds used for PD-L1-positivity, or the source and timing for sample collection. Therefore, newer biomarkers such as tumor mutation burden and neoantigens as well as biomarkers reflecting host environment (microbiome) or tumor inflamed microenvironment (gene expression signatures) are being explored as more reliable and accurate alternatives to IHC for guiding treatment selection with checkpoint inhibitors in NSCLC.