An unexpected and fascinating aspect of the neuropeptides orexins has recently emerged when it was shown that orexins acting at orexin receptors OX1R or OX2R induce dramatic apoptosis resulting in massive reduction in cell growth in various cancer cell lines. This mini-review will provide the reader with recent findings related to the proapoptotic actions of orexins and the entirely novel mechanism whereby the seven membrane-spanning G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) OX1R triggers apoptosis. Recent data show that orexins induce tyrosine phosphorylation of the tyrosine-based motifs – immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif and immunoreceptor tyrosine-based switch motif – in OX1R. These phosphorylations result in the recruitment and activation of the phosphotyrosine phosphatase SHP-2 and subsequent cytochrome c-mediated mitochondrial apoptosis. Finally, this mini-review will also speculate on: (1) the potential importance of tyrosine-based motifs in the large family of GPCRs; (2) the interest of orexin receptors as therapeutic targets in cancer therapy; (3) the possible role of orexin receptor-mediated apoptosis in physiology and pathophysiology in the brain (neurodevelopment, neurodegenerative diseases) and in the periphery.