This is a retrospective case-control study of male tongue cancer patients seen at Tata memorial Hospital, Bombay, during the years 1980-84. The purpose of the study was to identify the association of tobacco, alcohol, diet and literacy status with respect to cancers of two sub sites of tongue namely anterior portion of the tongue (AT) (ICD 1411-1414) and base of the tongue (BT) (ICD 1410). There were 142 male AT patients and 495 BT patients interviewed during the period. 635 interviewed male patients who were free of any disease were considered as control. Bidi smoking was found to be a significant risk factor for BT patients and tobacco chewing for AT patients respectively. Alcohol drinkers showed about 45% to 79% excess risk for both sites of tongue cancer. Illiteracy and non vegetarian diet proved to be a significant factor for AT patients only. The study brings out that the location of cancer has got a direct bearing with the type of tobacco use and other related habits and this inturn may provide meaningful interpretation of variations observed in the incidence of tongue cancer around the world.