One hundred one cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the upper respiratory and digestive tracts were analyzed for distant metastases. In all cases, autopsies were performed. Forty (40%) of the 101 patients had presented with one or more distant metastases. The most common sites of distant metastases were the lungs (70%), the liver (42%), and the bones (15%). There was a correlation between initial cervical lymph node involvement and development of distant metastases. In five cases of distant metastases, no tumor was found in the site of the primary lesion or in the cervical lymph nodes.