PURPOSE Patients with oral tongue carcinoma treated by intraoral excision only should be followed up carefully for cervical lymph node metastasis and salvaged immediately if found, because some patients have a more aggressive clinical course. The purpose of this study was to find useful markers for predicting late cervical metastasis in patients with stage I and II invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the oral tongue. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN We investigated clinicopathologic factors and immunohistochemical biomarkers predicting late cervical metastasis in surgical specimens from 56 patients with T(1-2)N(0)M(0) invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the oral tongue who did not undergo elective neck dissection. Histopathologic factors including tumor thickness, mode of invasion, Broders grade, total score of three different malignancy grading systems, eight other clinicopathologic parameters, and immunohistochemical expression of p53, cyclin D1, Ki-67, epidermal growth factor receptor, microvessel density, cyclooxygenase-2, MUC1, laminin-5 gamma2, E-cadherin, and beta-catenin were examined. All of the clinicopathologic factors and immunohistochemical expression of biomarkers were compared in terms of survival. RESULTS In the univariate analysis, tumor thickness (P = 0.009), Broders grade (P = 0.017), nest shape (P = 0.005), mode of invasion (P < 0.001), Anneroth score (P = 0.029), Bryne score (P < 0.001), and E-cadherin expression (P = 0.003) were correlated with late cervical metastasis. Multivariate analysis on late cervical metastasis revealed that tumor thickness >4 mm, mode of invasion grade 3 or 4, and E-cadherin expression were independent factors. Late cervical metastasis was the only prognostic factor for overall survival (P = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS Our results indicate that patients with stage I and II invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the oral tongue with tumor thickness >4 mm, mode of invasion grade 3 or 4, and low expression of E-cadherin should be considered a high-risk group for late cervical metastasis when a wait-and-see policy for the neck is adopted.