Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma (BSC) is regarded as a variant of squamous cell carcinoma, but displays distinct morphological and biological features as well as a different clinical course. The tumor is frequently seen in the head and neck and is preferentially located in the larynx, especially in supraglottic sites. Ten patients with BSC of the supraglottic larynx were treated from 1991 to 1995 at the Medical Faculty of the University of Istanbul. Results of treatment were compared retrospectively with a control group consisting of 44 patients with well-differentiated squamous cell carcinomas. Ages, localizations, stages and treatment procedures were similar. In both groups mean survival, nodal involvement and distant metastases were comparable although the local (laryngeal) recurrence rate in patients with early supraglottic (T2) disease in the BSC group after conservative partial surgery was distinct compared to the control group (P < 0.05). These results indicate that conservative surgery should be assessed with caution in patients with BSC. and postoperative irradiation be taken into consideration.