The prognostic impact of proliferative and apoptotic markers was studied in 85 T1-4 oral tongue squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Ki67 immunoreactivity and AgNOR counts, including mean AgNOR counts (mAgNOR) and the percentage of nuclei with more than one AgNOR (pAgNOR > 1), were used as proliferative parameters. The apoptotic index (AI) was assessed using the TUNEL method. Bax expression was detected immunohistochemically and scored. Bax expression correlated positively with AI (p = 0.0122). Ki67 correlated with both pAgNOR > 1 (p = 0.0042) and mAgNOR (p = 0.0189). Low Bax expression and low AI correlated significantly with the disease-free period (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.0024, respectively). High values for Ki67, pAgNOR > 1 and mAgNOR correlated with poor prognosis (p = 0.0021, p = 0.0001 and p = 0.0244, respectively). Combinations of proliferative and apoptotic parameters were stronger predictors than individual parameters (p < 0.0001). pAgNOR > 1-Bax expression appeared to be the best combination (p < 0.0001). We conclude that proliferative and apoptotic markers, especially their combinations, have prognostic value in tongue SCC.