Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is defined as a specific form of chronic, progressive fibrosing interstitial pneumonia of unknown cause, occurring primarily in older adults, and limited to the lungs. Despite the increasing research interest in the pathogenesis of IPF, unfavorable survival rates remain associated with this condition. Recently, novel therapeutic agents have been shown to control the progression of IPF. However, these drugs do not improve lung function and have not been tested prospectively in patients with IPF and coexisting lung cancer, which is a common comorbidity of IPF. Optimal management of patients with IPF and lung cancer requires understanding of pathogenic mechanisms and molecular pathways that are common to both diseases. This review article reflects the current state of knowledge regarding the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis and summarizes the pathways that are common to IPF and lung cancer by focusing on the molecular mechanisms.