The aim of this study was to investigate the predictive value of preoperative neutrophil, platelet and lymphocyte counts in local recurrence and survival in the patients operated for early-stage squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the tongue. 57 patients who underwent surgery for early-stage (stage 1-2) SCC of the tongue were enrolled in the study. Neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), platelet to lymphocyte ratio (PLR) and neutrophil x PLR value (N x PLR) were used as outcome measures. Local recurrence was detected in 11 (19.3 %) patients during follow-up period. Mortality was seen in 7 (12.3 %) patients. 37 (64.9 %) patients had stage 1 and 20 (35.1 %) patients had stage 2 tumor. NLR, PLR and N x PLR cutoff values were determined as 2.26, 146,855 and 689,912, respectively, by receiver operating characteristic analysis. The relationship between NLR, PLR, N x PLR and local recurrence was statistically significant according to these cutoff values (p values 0.021, 0.020, 0.017, respectively). We suggest that NLR, PLR and N x PLR may be used to predict local recurrence, while their use in overall and disease-free survival is limited. Further studies involving large patient groups are required.