A retrospective review of 112 cases treated by one author (J.C.) over the 21 year period 1953-1973 is performed. In 62% of the cases squamous cell carcinoma was the histologic diagnosis, with adenoid cystic carcinoma accounting for a further 16%. The remaining histologic types were few in number and included fibrosarcoma, muco-epidermoid carcinoma, melanoma, chondrosarcoma, adenocarcinoma, malignant Schwannoma, lymphosarcoma, malignant mixed tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, angiosarcoma, and osteogenic sarcoma. Three years following diagnosis more than 1/3 of the squamous cell carcinomas were alive but by 10 years the survival rate had fallen to 16%. Orbital involvement at the time of presentation or noted at surgery had a poor prognosis with a 17% five year cure rate and only 2% alive at 10 years. Erosion of the pterygoids or pterygopalatine fossa invasion as diagnosed radiologically or intra-operatively revealed all patients dead of disease within five years despite radical surgery and irradiation. Cervical nodal metastases at primary presentation was a particularly ominous finding with all patients dead of disease within three years. Metastases developing later had a better prognosis with 39% surviving five years when treated aggressively.