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Achieving a high level of classification accuracy in medical datasets is a capital need for researchers to provide effective decision systems to assist doctors in work. In many domains of artificial intelligence, ensemble classification methods are able to improve the performance of single classifiers. This paper reports the state of the art of ensemble classification methods in lung cancer detection. We have performed a systematic mapping study to identify the most interesting papers concerning
this topic. A total of 65 papers published between 2000 and 2018 were selected after an automatic search in four digital libraries and a careful selection process. As a result, it was observed that diagnosis was the task most commonly studied; homogeneous ensembles and decision trees were the most frequently adopted for constructing ensembles; and the majority voting rule was the predominant combination rule. Few studies considered the parameter tuning of the techniques used. These findings open several perspectives for researchers to enhance lung cancer research by addressing the identified gaps, such as investigating different classification methods, proposing other heterogeneous ensemble methods, and using new combination rules. Graphical abstract Main features of the mapping study performed in ensemble classification methods applied on lung cancer decision support systems.