Data on surgical lung cancer cases were extracted from the German Federal Statistics on Diagnosis-related groups (DRG) and a possible association between hospital volume and surgical mortality was explored. All treatment cases documented between 2005 and 2015 with the main diagnosis of lung cancer (International Classification of Disease code C34) and the German Operations and Procedure Key (OPS) codes 5-323 to 5-328 for anatomical lung resections were analysed. The treatment cases were assigned to hospital groups, defined according to the number of procedures performed per year. The total number of anatomical lung resections for the diagnosis of lung cancer increased by 24 % from 9376 resections in 2005 to 11,614 resections in 2015. In 2015, 57 % of anatomical lung resections in patients with lung cancer were performed in 47 high volume centres (hospitals with ≥ 75 resections/year); the remaining 43 % of the resections were distributed among 271 hospitals performing fewer than 75 resections per year. In hospitals performing fewer than 25 procedures/year, hospital mortality was almost twice as high as in large centres with ≥ 75 resections per year (5.7 vs. 3.0 %, mean value 2005 to 2015). In summary, our data indicate that a small number of high-volume hospitals perform the major part of lung resections of lung cancer in Germany with better survival as compared to low-volume hospitals. Based on current nationwide data a clear association between hospital volume and surgical mortality could be demonstrated.