Squamous cell carcinoma of the posterior oro-and hypopharyngeal wall (SCCPPW) is a relatively rare tumour. A retrospective investigation of 63 patients with SCCPPW and 449 patients with carcinoma of the lateral oro- and hypopharyngeal wall, treated between 1964and 1992, has been carried out. Most SCCPPW were asymptomatic, macroscopically superficial and at early stages. They were usually detected by chance during an examination for a different type of malignancy. Fifty-seven per cent of SCCPPW patients had multiple tumours; however this occurrence did not alter the survival rate. The crude five-year survival rate for SCCPPW was 22 per cent and was not significantly different from that of patients with lateral wall tumours. Moreover, both local control and recurrences also were not statistically different.