The five-year survival rate for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has remained at ~50% for the past 30 years despite advances in treatment. Tigilanol tiglate (TT, also known as EBC-46) is a novel diterpene ester that induces cell death in HNSCC in vitro and in mouse models, and has recently completed Phase I human clinical trials. The aim of this study was to optimise efficacy of TT treatment by altering different administration parameters. The tongue SCC cell line (SCC-15) was identified as the line with the lowest efficacy to treatment. Subcutaneous xenografts of SCC-15 cells were grown in BALB/c Foxn1nu and NOD/SCID mice and treated with intratumoral injection of 30 μg TT or a vehicle only control (40% propylene glycol (PG)). Greater efficacy of TT treatment was found in the BALB/c Foxn1nu mice compared to NOD/SCID mice. Immunohistochemical analysis indicated a potential role of the host's innate immune system in this difference, specifically neutrophil infiltration. Neither fractionated doses of TT nor the use of a different excipiant led to significantly increased efficacy. This study confirmed that TT in 40% PG given intratumorally as a single bolus dose was the most efficacious treatment for a tongue SCC mouse model.