Interstitial laser therapy (ILT) is an effective palliative treatment for advanced head and neck cancer, but recurrence often is seen at the margin. The objective of the current study was to test combined drug and laser therapy as an experimental approach for improved treatment of human squamous cell carcinoma (SCCA). Human SCCA tumor transplants were grown in nude mice and injected with the photosensitive anthrapyrazole CI-941 before ILT. Intralesional drug injections alone at levels ranging from 60 to 1200 μg/gm of tumor induced a growth delay at the higher doses, but recurrence was seen in all 35 tumors tested. SCCA tumor transplants injected with 240 μg/gm CI-941 followed after 4 hours by ILT with the KTP532 laser led to a complete response rate of 72% (21/29) compared with 45% (13/29) for ILT alone. Laser chemotherapy was a significant improvement compared with ILT when partial and complete responses were combined (P < 0.03). The results provide preclinical evidence that laser chemotherapy may become a useful minimally invasive treatment for advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.