The aim of this investigation was to report on the diagnostic accuracy of conventional effusion cytology. Cytological diagnoses of 300 pleural effusions and 300 ascites were compared with clinical and/or histological follow-ups of the respective patients. Sensitivity of our cytological diagnoses on pleural effusions was 50.0%, specificity 97.0%, positive predictive value 95.7%, and negative predictive value 86.4%. Sensitivity in ascitic effusions was 62.4%, specificity 98.0%, positive predictive value 100.0%, and negative predictive value 88.3%; 5.8% of diagnoses for pleural and 4.4% for peritoneal effusions were suspicious or doubtful. The overall false-positive rate was 0.5%, while the false-negative rate was 31.5%. False-negative results were due to sampling errors in 71% of pleural and 73% of peritoneal effusions and to screening errors in 29% and 27%, respectively. Our data and those from the literature show that diagnostic accuracy of effusion cytology is still unsatisfactory and should be improved. Therefore, the use of different adjuvant methods is recommended.