The effect inflammation has on cancer prognosis is marked by the presence of cytokines and chemokines. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is one a multifunctional cytokine that regulates inflammatory responses. We investigated the roles of IL-6 and STAT3 and examined the relationship between IL-6 signaling and clinicopathological factors in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). We retrospectively examined 116 patients who underwent radical surgery for OSCC. IL-6 and STAT3 expression were detected by immunohistochemistry. IL-6 and STAT3 positivity were detected by IHC, at 78.4 and 80.2 %, respectively. IL-6 expression was significantly associated with pattern of invasion (P = 0.004), vascular invasion (P = 0.003), and pathological nodal status (P = 0.019). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that IL-6 expression was significantly associated with vascular invasion (P = 0.044). Meanwhile, there was no significant association between STAT3 expression and clinicopathological factors and no significant relationship between IL-6 and STAT3 expression. IL-6 expression was significantly associated with 5-year disease-free survival. These results suggest that IL-6 is involved in lymphangiogenesis and recurrence in OSCC.