In this study, the correlation between neck metastasis and recurrence was investigated by studying specimens of tongue squamous cell carcinoma patients immunohistochemical with survivin antibodies in the primary biopsy. A retrospective review was conducted at the Academic University Hospital. 46 patients who had squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue, who underwent various types of glossectomy and neck dissections between 1991 and 2008, were evaluated. The patient's sex, TNM staging, differentiation and recurrence rates were analyzed. There were 20 T1 patients and 26 T2 patients; 27 of the patients were N0 and 19 had metastatic lymph nodes in the neck. Survivin antibodies were applied with streptavidin-biotin method to the sections that were prepared from the primary tumor biopsy specimens of the patients. The correlation between neck metastasis and recurrence and survivins' immunohistochemical staining was analyzed with statistical methods. There were no significant differences between the patient's age, sex, tumor's T stage, tumor differentiation and survivin staining density. Survivin staining was positive in 15 (79 %) of 19 patients with neck metastasis, while it was positive in 16 (59 %) of 27 patients without neck metastasis. Eleven (79 %) of the 14 patients who had recurrence and all 6 patients who had neck recurrence only were stained by survivin. Expression of nuclear and cytoplasmic survivin can be a useful marker for predicting cervical lymph node metastasis in T1-T2 tumors in tongue SCC.