At the initial stage of carcinogenesis, when RasV12-transformed cells are surrounded by normal epithelial cells, RasV12 cells are apically extruded from epithelia through cell competition with the surrounding normal cells. In this study, we demonstrate that expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)−2 is upregulated in normal cells surrounding RasV12-transformed cells. Addition of COX inhibitor or COX-2-knockout promotes apical extrusion of RasV12 cells. Furthermore, production of Prostaglandin (PG) E2, a downstream prostanoid of COX-2, is elevated in normal cells surrounding RasV12 cells, and addition of PGE2 suppresses apical extrusion of RasV12 cells. In a cell competition mouse model, expression of COX-2 is elevated in pancreatic epithelia harbouring RasV12-exressing cells, and the COX inhibitor ibuprofen promotes apical extrusion of RasV12 cells. Moreover, caerulein-induced chronic inflammation substantially suppresses apical elimination of RasV12 cells. These results indicate that intrinsically or extrinsically mediated inflammation can promote tumour initiation by diminishing cell competition between normal and transformed cells.
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