mPGES-1 (microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1) is a stimulus-inducible enzyme that functions downstream of COX (cyclo-oxygenase)-2 in the PGE2 (prostaglandin E2)-biosynthesis pathway. Although COX-2-derived PGE2 is known to play a role in the development of various tumours, the involvement of mPGES-1 in carcinogenesis has not yet been fully understood. In the present study, we used LLC (Lewis lung carcinoma) cells with mPGES-1 knockdown or overexpression, as well as mPGES-1-deficient mice to examine the roles of cancer cell- and host-associated mPGES-1 in the processes of tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. We found that siRNA (small interfering RNA) silencing of mPGES-1 in LLC cells decreased PGE2 synthesis markedly, accompanied by reduced cell proliferation, attenuated Matrigel invasiveness and increased extracellular matrix adhesion. Conversely, mPGES-1-overexpressing LLC cells showed increased proliferating and invasive capacities. When implanted subcutaneously into wild-type mice, mPGES-1-silenced cells formed smaller xenograft tumours than did control cells. Furthermore, LLC tumours grafted subcutaneously into mPGES-1-knockout mice grew more slowly than did those grafted into littermate wild-type mice, with concomitant decreases in the density of microvascular networks, the expression of pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor, and the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2. Lung metastasis of intravenously injected LLC cells was also significantly less obvious in mPGES-1-null mice than in wild-type mice. Thus our present approaches provide unequivocal evidence for critical roles of the mPGES-1-dependent PGE2 biosynthetic pathway in both cancer cells and host microenvironments in tumour growth and metastasis.