Both COPD and emphysema are associated with an increased incidence of lung cancer, but the impacts of these comorbidities on lung cancer prognosis are still unclear. Herein, we conducted a meta-analysis to clarify whether the presence of these comorbidities indicates poor survival in patients with lung cancer. A comprehensive search was conducted using PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, ASCO Abstracts and Cochrane library for articles published before 1 June 2015. Papers referenced by the obtained articles were also reviewed. Main outcomes were overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with lung cancer. Pooled hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using random-effects models. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were also conducted. Of 58 full texts reviewed, 26 met our inclusion criteria that were derived from 21 and seven studies examining the impacts of COPD and emphysema on survival of lung cancer, respectively. Meta-analyses revealed that concomitant COPD was associated with poorer OS (HR, 1.17; 95% CI: 1.10–1.25,n= 20), which was independent of tumour staging, diagnostic criteria of COPD or location, and DFS (HR, 1.52; 95% CI: 1.04–2.23,n= 6) with high heterogeneity (I2 = 78%). The presence of emphysema in patients with lung cancer predicted worse OS (HR, 1.66; 95% CI: 1.25–2.22,n= 7), but not poorer DFS. The presence of COPD and emphysema are robust predictors of poor survival in patients with lung cancer. Early detection of these diseases should be taken into account for lung cancer surveillance and management.