The prognosis for malignant mesothelioma remains disappointing, although there have been some modest improvements in prognosis from newer chemotherapies and multimodality treatments. Treatment of malignant mesothelioma at earlier stages has a better prognosis, but cures are exceedingly rare. Clinical behavior of the malignancy is affected by several factors including the continuous mesothelial surface of the pleural cavity which favors local metastasis via exfoliated cells, invasion to underlying tissue and other organs within the pleural cavity, and the extremely long latency period between asbestos exposure and development of the disease. The histological subtype and the patient's age and health status also help predict prognosis. The epithelioid histology responds better to treatment and has a survival advantage over sarcomatoid histology.