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Mesothelial cells line the pleural and peritoneal surfaces, where under normal conditions they proliferate and undergo cell death at a slow rate, thereby maintaining a constant number of cells. These tightly regulated processes are disrupted in malignancy. By developing a better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate cell proliferation and apoptosis in mesothelial and mesothelioma cells, we may be able to develop more effective therapeutic agents that target specific steps in these pathways to induce apoptosis more efficiently. This paper reviews our current knowledge of the signaling pathways involved in the regulation of mesothelial cell proliferation and apoptosis. The latest advancements in identifying proteins that play key roles in the resistance to apoptosis are highlighted.