Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive tumor with poor prognosis for which an effective therapy remains to be established. Our study investigated the therapeutic potential of the suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), an endogenous inhibitor of intracellular signaling pathways, for treatment of MPM. We infected MPM cells (H226, EHMES-1, MESO-1 and MESO-4) with an adenovirus-expressing SOCS3 (AdSOCS3) to examine the effect of SOCS3 overexpression on MPM cells. SOCS3 overexpression reduced MPM proliferation and induced apoptosis and partial G0/G1 arrest. SOCS3 also inhibited the proliferation of MPM cells via multiple signaling pathways including Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and p53 pathways. Notably, AdSOCS3 treatment inhibited tumor growth in an MPM pleural xenograft model. These findings demonstrate that overexpression of SOCS3 has a potent antitumor effect against MPM both in vitro and in vivo and indicate the potential for clinical use of SOCS3 for MPM treatment.