Field-effect transistors based on two-dimensional (2D) materials have the potential to be used in very large-scale integration (VLSI) technology, but whether they can be used at the front end of line or at the back end of line through monolithic or heterogeneous integration remains to be determined. To achieve this, multiple challenges must be overcome, including reducing the contact resistance, developing stable and controllable doping schemes, advancing mobility engineering and improving high-κ dielectric integration. The large-area growth of uniform 2D layers is also required to ensure low defect density, low device-to-device variation and clean interfaces. Here we review the development of 2D field-effect transistors for use in future VLSI technologies. We consider the key performance indicators for aggressively scaled 2D transistors and discuss how these should be extracted and reported. We also highlight potential applications of 2D transistors in conventional micro/nanoelectronics, neuromorphic computing, advanced sensing, data storage and future interconnect technologies.