CD9 is involved in cell growth, adhesion and motility and its expression is reported to be of prognostic significance in various types of human malignancies. We found increased cell migration in the mesothelioma cell lines MSTO-211H and TUM1 following in vitro shRNA-mediated knockdown of CD9 expression. We investigated CD9 expression in 112 malignant pleural mesotheliomas. CD9 expression was observed in 62 of 71 epithelioid, 13 of 20 biphasic and only 1 of 21 sarcomatoid mesotheliomas. Among the epithelioid mesotheliomas (EMs), CD9 expression was observed in all of the 33 cases with a differentiated type (EM-D) and in 29 of the 38 cases with a less-differentiated type (EM-LD). Patients with CD9 expression showed higher 1- and 2-year survival rates (63 and 25%) compared to the patients without CD9 expression (39 and 11%). Univariate analysis revealed that patients with CD9 expression demonstrated a more favorable survival (P=0.0025) along with other clinicopathological factors, including age younger than 60 years, IMIG stage I–II, epithelioid histology, EM-D and patients who underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy or received chemotherapy. Multivariate analysis identified CD9 expression as an independent prognostic factor with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.99 in the analysis of all mesotheliomas (P=0.0261) and an HR of 2.60 in the analysis of EMs (P=0.0376). CD9 expression is an independent favorable prognostic marker of malignant mesothelioma.