This study investigates the clinical significance of Anoctamin-1 gene mapping at 11q13 amplicon in both the development and progression of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). ANO1 protein expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in a cohort of 372 surgically treated HNSCC patients and also in 35 laryngeal precancerous lesions. ANO1 gene amplification was determined by real-time PCR in all the laryngeal premalignancies and 60 of the HNSCCs, and molecular data correlated with clinical outcome. ANO1 gene amplification was frequently detected in both premalignant lesions (63%) and HNSCC tumours (58%), whereas concomitant ANO1 expression occurred at a much lower frequency (20 and 22%). Interestingly, laryngeal dysplasias harbouring ANO1 gene amplification showed a higher risk of malignant transformation (HR = 3.62; 95% CI 0.79-16.57; P = 0.097; Cox regression). ANO1 expression and gene amplification showed no significant associations with clinicopathological parameters in HNSCC. However, remarkably ANO1 expression differentially influenced patient survival depending on the tumour site. Collectively, this study provides original evidence demonstrating the distinctive impact of ANO1 expression on HNSCC prognosis depending on the tumour site.