Abstract We examined gene expression of corticotropin-releasing hormone and neuropeptide Y level in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus of mouse bearing a human oral squamous cell carcinoma. A cell line derived from a human oral squamous cell carcinoma was inoculated into the lower dorsal area of nude mice. Body weight, tumor size and daily food intake were recorded every morning. Mice were sacrificed for corticotropin-releasing hormone mRNA in situ hybridization and neuropeptide Y immunohistochemistry, when the tumor ratio reached to 11–13% of real body weight. The results were compared with the age-matching non-tumor controls injected with saline instead of carcinoma cell. Body weight gain was significantly reduced in tumor bearing mice, however, no compensatory hyperphagia was found, i.e. daily food intake of the tumor mice did not differ from the non-tumor mice. Both neuropeptide Y immunoreactivity and corticotropin-releasing hormone mRNA level were significantly increased in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus of tumor mice. These results suggest that a human oral squamous cell carcinoma may induce anorexia, at least partly, via increasing the hypothalamic expression of corticotropin-releasing hormone in the tumor subjects. Additionally, neuropeptide Y-induced feeding appears to be inhibited in this tumor anorexia model, and this may correlate with increased expression of corticotropin-releasing hormone.