Induction of pleurodesis offers benefit for patients with metastatic tumors and symptomatic malignant pleural effusions, but the best method for achieving this is still unknown. In this prospective, randomized comparison of two well-established pleurodesis procedures, 36 patients with malignant pleural effusions, expanded lungs after drainage, and expected survival of > 1 mo received either bleomycin instillation (60E) via a small-bore thoracostomy tube or thoracoscopic talc poudrage (5 g) under local anesthesia. Efficacy, safety, and cost could be evaluated for 32 treatments (17 bleomycin, 15 talc) in 31 patients. Recurrence rates of effusion with bleomycin and talc poudrage after 30 d were 41% and 13% (p = 0.12), respectively, those after 90 d were 59% and 13%, respectively (p = 0.01), and those after 180 d were 65% and 13% (p = 0.005), respectively. Neither procedure showed any major adverse effect, and both were equally well tolerated. Cost estimation favored thoracoscopic talc poudrage, both for the initial hospitalization and with regard to recurrences. In conclusion, thoracoscopic talc pleurodesis under local anesthesia is superior to bleomycin instillation for pleurodesis in cases of malignant pleural effusion.