The cytomorphologic evaluation of serous cavity specimens can quickly determine the cause of an effusion as well as the presence or absence of a neoplastic process. Ancillary tests such as immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization are frequently used to help to definitively identify malignant cells, determine a site of origin, and distinguish between malignant and reactive mesothelial proliferations. In recent years, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been increasingly evaluated in cytologic specimens, including those from serous cavities. The examination of miRNA is attractive because of the stability of miRNA in such specimens and data suggesting that miRNA can provide prognostic and therapeutic information in addition to its role in diagnosis. Furthermore, miRNAs exist within extracellular exosomes, and this allows for their analysis in specimens that contain only rare malignant cells, degenerated cells, or obscuring components. This review discusses the technical aspects of specimen processing for miRNA analysis, recent studies of miRNA expression in malignant serous cavity specimens, and the potential importance of miRNA expression analysis for serous cavity specimens in the near future.