Introduction. We investigated the expression of microRNAs and mRNAs in pleural tissues from patients with either malignant pleural mesothelioma or benign asbestos-related pleural effusion. Methods. Fresh frozen tissues from a total of 18 malignant pleural mesothelioma and 6 benign asbestos-related pleural effusion patients were studied. Expression profiling of mRNA and microRNA was performed using standard protocols. Results. We discovered significant upregulation of multiple microRNAs in malignant pleural mesothelioma compared to benign asbestos-related pleural effusion. Hsa-miR-484, hsa-miR-320, hsa-let-7a, and hsa-miR-125a-5p were able to discriminate malignant from benign disease. Dynamically regulated mRNAs were also identified. MET was the most highly overexpressed gene in malignant pleural mesothelioma compared to benign asbestos-related pleural effusion. Integrated analyses examining microRNA-mRNA interactions suggested multiple altered targets within the Notch signaling pathway. Conclusions. Specific microRNAs and mRNAs may have diagnostic utility in differentiating patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma from benign asbestos-related pleural effusion. These studies may be particularly helpful in patients who reside in a region with a high incidence of mesothelioma.