Human malignancies develop via a multi-step that involves the accumulation of several key gene alterations with associated genetic and epigenetic events. Although malignant mesothelioma (MM) has been demonstrated to be clearly correlated with asbestos exposure, it remains poorly understood how asbestos fibers confer key gene alterations and induce cellular transformation in normal mesothelial cells, which results in the acquisition of malignant phenotypes, including deregulated cell proliferation and invasion. Malignant mesothelioma presents with the frequent inactivation of tumor suppressor genes of p16(INK4a)/p14(ARF) on chromosome 9p21 and neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) on chromosome 22q12, with the latter being responsible for the NF2 familial cancer syndrome. In contrast, MM shows infrequent mutation of the p53 gene, which is one of the most frequently mutated tumor suppressor genes in human malignancies. Genetic abnormalities of oncogenes have also been studied in MM, but no frequent mutations have been identified, including the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and K-RAS genes. Recent studies have suggested the activation of other receptor tyrosine kinases, including Met, and the deregulations of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT signaling cascades, although the alterations responsible for their activation are still not clear. Thus, further genome-wide studies of genetic and epigenetic alterations as well as detailed analyses of deregulated signaling cascades in MM are necessary to determine the molecular mechanisms of MM, which would also provide some clues for establishing a new molecular target therapy for MM.