One of the most common complications of acute pancreatitis is acute lung injury, during which intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) plays an important role by participating in leukocyte adhesion and activation as well as by inducing the "cascade effect" of inflammatory mediators, pulmonary microcirculation dysfunction and even acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiple organ failure or death. Although it is generally believed that the modulatory mechanism of ICAM-1 during this process is associated with the activation of nuclear transcription factor kappa B which is mediated by IL-1, IL-6, IL-18 and oxygen free radical, etc., further studies are still required to clarify it. Since the upregulation of ICAM-1 expression in the lung during acute lung injury is one of main pathogeneses, the early detection of the ICAM-1 expression level may contribute to the prevention and treatment of acute lung injury. Moreover, reducing pulmonary ICAM-1 expression levels through treatment with anti-ICAM-1 monoclonal antibody (aICAM-1) and antagonists of the neurokinin 1 receptor, etc., should have a positive effect on protecting the lungs during acute pancreatitis. This review aims to further clarify the relationship between ICAM-1 and acute pancreatitis complicated by acute lung injury, and therefore provides a theoretical basis for the formulation of corresponding therapeutic measures in clinical practice for acute pancreatitis.