Introduction: Cytology provides crucial window for early diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma (MM) since it is often the first and easily available material for evaluation, resulting in early treatment. Still, its role is overlooked in the current treatment guidelines. The aim of this study is to determine the sensitivity of cytomorphology and role of subsequent ancillary techniques in diagnosing MM. Methods: This is a 5-year retrospective analysis of MM in the tertiary oncology center to determine sensitivity of cytomorphology and subsequent role of immunohistochemistry (IHC) in final diagnosis of MM according to the guidelines for cytopathologic diagnosis of epithelioid and mixed-type malignant mesothelioma (GCDMM) laid by International Mesothelioma Interest Group. Cytomorphology and immunocytochemistry from effusions and fine needle aspirations were analyzed. Results: Sixty-two of 128 cases of MM had cytology and cytomorphological criteria described in GCDMM were fulfilled in 61.3% cases. Architectural atypia was useful in identifying cases with low cytological atypia. Overall sensitivity of cytomorphology was 73.01%. Sensitivity of effusion cytology was 77.8%. Subsequent IHC on cell blocks revealed the sensitivity as 100% for mesothelin, calretinin, and cytokeratin 5/6; 87.5% for thrombomodulin; and 50% for WT1, while CEA and TTF1 showed 100% specificity. Treatment was given based on final diagnosis of MM given after IHC on cytology material in only 25.8% cases. However, it was possible in additional 35.5% cases. Mean survival was 10 months when diagnosed by cytology, compared to 7 months by histology. Conclusions: Rather than ignoring the role of cytology in the diagnosis and treatment guidelines for MM, it is important to understand its strengths and limitations. Standardized guidelines in future can play an important role in more streamlined communication between cytopathologist and clinician.

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