The aim of this study was to examine the expression of three putative mesothelioma-binding antibodies, thrombomodulin, OV 632 and HBME-1 in 42 malignant mesotheliomas (27 pleural and 15 peritoneal) and 32 pulmonary adenocarcinomas. Evaluation of their use in differentiating between the mesotheliomas and pulmonary adenocarcinomas was assessed. Thrombomodulin was expressed by 22 of 42 (52%) mesotheliomas but was seen in eight of 12 pure epithelial-type mesotheliomas of the pleura and in all four papillary epithelial peritoneal mesotheliomas. For pure epithelial mesotheliomas thrombomodulin was 75% sensitive. Only two of 32 pulmonary adenocarcinomas were immunoreactive yielding a 94% specificity for thrombomodulin. In comparison, OV 632 and HBME-1 showed 67% and 62% antibody sensitivity, respectively, for malignant mesothelioma but this was accompanied by low specificity (OV 632, 37%; HBME-1, 28%). Both OV 632 and HBME-1 are considered unsuitable for use in differentiating between mesotheliomas and pulmonary adenocarcinomas. We advocate the use of thrombomodulin as a mesothelioma-binding antibody in the standard panel of antibodies used in the evaluation of malignant mesothelioma.