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The murine AT-84 orthotopic model of oral cancer was assessed to find how similar it is to human oral cancer. This was done because testing of new treatments for oral cancer requires the use of a realistic animal model.Tumors were induced at orthotopic (oral) or heterotopic (flank) sites and their features were compared. The therapeutic effects of surgery, 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin were measured on the orthotopic tumors.Tumors had the histological appearance of a sarcomatoid carcinoma, invading locally and causing weight loss and death. The oral tumors metastasized to the lungs frequently. Tumors could be treated with some success by surgery or chemotherapy, but generally recurred.The similarities to human oral cancer suggest that the model will be very useful in the evaluation of experimental therapies for oral cancer.