Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the 6th most common cancer worldwide and poses a significant health burden due to its rising incidence. Although the proto-oncogene pituitary tumor transforming gene 1 (PTTG) predicts poor patient outcome, its mechanisms of action are incompletely understood. We show here that the protein PBF modulates PTTG function, is overexpressed in HNSCC tumors, and correlates with significantly reduced survival. Lentiviral shRNA attenuation of PTTG or PBF expression in HNSCC cells with either wild type or mutant p53, and with and without HPV infection, led to dysregulated expression of p53 target genes involved in DNA repair and apoptosis. Mechanistically, PTTG and PBF affected each other's interaction with p53 and cooperated to reduce p53 protein stability in HNSCC cells independently of HPV. Depletion of either PTTG or PBF significantly repressed cellular migration and invasion and impaired colony formation in HNSCC cells, implicating both proto-oncogenes in basic mechanisms of tumorigenesis. HNSCC patients with high tumoral PBF and PTTG had the poorest overall survival, which reflects a marked impairment of p53-dependent signalling.