Histopathological findings in 57 surgical specimens of T3 and T4 buccal mucosa cancers are reviewed. The incidence of the well-differentiated tumours (including verrucous carcinoma) was 61%. A moderate degree of lymphocytic infiltration of the tumour was present in 37% of patients. Histologically proven cervical lymph node deposits were present in only 16% of the patients. Amongst the group of patients with clinically enlarged lymph nodes, metastatic disease was histologically demonstrated in 17.5% at level I and 14% at level II of neck nodes. Amongst group of patients with no palpable nodes in the neck, metastatic disease was histologically demonstrated in 11.7% at level I and 9% at level II of neck nodes. These findings contra-indicate an elective neck dissection and indicate the need to confirm histologically the presence of lymph node deposits doing a radical neck dissection in patients with buccal mucosa cancer. This well-differentiated tumour has a much lower tendency to metastasize than cancers in other sites of the oral cavity.