The prognostication of the future behavior of a head and neck malignancy is still achieved by mainly morphological criteria. A common problem is the incertainty regarding the existence of occult metastatic disease in early tumors of the head and neck. In the focus of current research projects is the identification of molecular markers predicting the presence or absence of such occult metastases. By the detection of molecular markers with statistically significant correlations to metastatic disease it woulde be possible the select patients more accurately for necessary additional surgical treatment (e.g. neck dissection).