The alteration of microRNA (miRNA) expression plays an important role in chemical carcinogenesis. Presently, few reports have been published that concern the significance of circulating miRNAs in lung carcinogenesis induced by environmental carcinogens. The purpose of this study was to identify serum miRNAs that could be associated with lung carcinogenesis induced by 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK). Male F344 rats were systemically administered with NNK. The rat serum differential expression profiles of miRNAs were analyzed by small RNA solexa sequencing. Using quantitative real-time PCR, the differentially expressed serum miRNAs were identified in each individual rat. Serum miR-206 and miR-133b were selected for further identification in rat serum at different stages of lung carcinogenesis; we detected the levels of serum miR-206 and miR-133b in lung cancer tissues induced by NNK. NNK causes significant alteration of serum miRNA expression. Compared to the control group, serum miR-206 and miR-133b were significantly up-regulated in the early stage of NNK-induced lung carcinogenesis. miR-206 and miR-133b exhibited low-expression in lung cancer tissues. Our results demonstrate that lung carcinogen NNK exposure changes the expression of serum miRNAs. Serum miR-206 and miR-133b could be associated with lung carcinogenesis induced by NNK. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.