Exposure of Tca-8113 cells to proteasome inhibitor carbobenzoxy-Leu-Leu-leucinal (MG-132) causing apoptosis is associated with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. X-box-binding protein-1 (XBP1) is an important regulator of a subset of genes active during ER stress, which is related to cell survival and is required for tumor growth. The present study is to evaluate the effect of MG-132 on ROS production, XBP1 gene expression, tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2), ASK1 and c-jun protein expression in tongue squamous cell carcinoma cell line Tca-8113 cells. ROS production was measured by reactive oxygen species assay. X-box binding protein-1 (XBP1) mRNA was analyzed by real-time–PCR, TRAF2, ASK1 and c-jun protein were investigated by western blot and immunocytochemistry respectively. The result indicated that ROS production, TRAF2, ASK1 and c-jun were elevated in MG-132 treated cells. Giving ROS scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) largely prevented the effects of MG-132. Furthermore, treating with MG-132 lead to decreased XBP1 mRNA expression but could not completely block the expression of XBP1. Taken together, these findings provide the evidence that MG-132 induced ER stress lead to Tca-8113 cells apoptosis through ROS generation and TRAF2-ASK1-JNK signal pathway activation.