Many studies have established gene expression-based prognostic signatures for lung cancer. All of these signatures were built from training data sets by learning the correlation of gene expression with the patients' survival time. They require all new sample data to be normalized to the training data, ultimately resulting in common problems of low reproducibility and impracticality. To overcome these problems, we propose a new signature model which does not involve data training. We hypothesize that the imbalance of two opposing effects in lung cancer cells, represented by Yin and Yang genes, determines a patient's prognosis. We selected the Yin and Yang genes by comparing expression data from normal lung and lung cancer tissue samples using both unsupervised clustering and pathways analyses. We calculated the Yin and Yang gene expression mean ratio (YMR) as patient risk scores. Thirty-one Yin and thirty-two Yang genes were identified and selected for the signature development. In normal lung tissues, the YMR is less than 1.0; in lung cancer cases, the YMR is greater than 1.0. The YMR was tested for lung cancer prognosis prediction in four independent data sets and it significantly stratified patients into high- and low-risk survival groups (p = 0.02, HR = 2.72; p = 0.01, HR = 2.70; p = 0.007, HR = 2.73; p = 0.005, HR = 2.63). It also showed prediction of the chemotherapy outcomes for stage II & III. In multivariate analysis, the YMR risk factor was more successful at predicting clinical outcomes than other commonly used clinical factors, with the exception of tumor stage. The YMR can be measured in an individual patient in the clinic independent of gene expression platform. This study provided a novel insight into the biology of lung cancer and shed light on the clinical applicability.