Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are a diverse group of tumor types, including neoplasia of the paranasal sinuses, oral cavity, trachea, pharynx and larynx. Laryngeal cancer is the most common type of HNSCC. The proline-rich 4 (PRR4) protein is synthesized in the acinar cells of human lacrimal glands. Previous studies have demonstrated that PRR4 may function as an antimicrobial protein protecting the ocular surface and the oral cavity. In order to determine differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in laryngeal tumors, a GeneFishing Assay was performed; 27 DEGs were identified. The PRR4 gene expression level in laryngeal tissue samples obtained from 90 patients, and the saliva of 25 healthy smokers and 25 non-smokers, was investigated using reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction. It was revealed that PRR4 gene expression was decreased in 65/90 tumor tissues (72.2%) compared with normal tissues. No significant difference was identified between the healthy smoker and the non-smoker groups in terms of PRR4 gene expression. The results of the present study indicated that the PRR4 gene may serve an important role in laryngeal carcinogenesis.