Principles of the Warburg effect and cancer cell metabolism

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The implication of cancer metabolism is gaining recent interest in cancer research after nearly nine decades since Dr. Otto Warburg first discovered the differing metabolic pathway of cancer cells. His early observations established that in contrast to normal cellular metabolism, most cancer cells rely on aerobic glycolysis. Although aerobic glycolysis is inefficient with respect to production of ATP it may provide a selective advantage for cancer cells producing glycolytic intermediates to support cell growth and division. It is becoming evident that genetic alterations associated with cancer have a role to play in aberrant cellular metabolism. In this chapter we discuss the current concepts of cancer metabolism and the relationship to tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes. The widespread recognition of the complex interplay between genetic alterations, cellular metabolism, and the tumor microenvironment could establish a framework for exploitable cancer therapies and potential targets of therapeutic intervention. In this chapter we outline these prospects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMolecular Mechanisms and Physiology of Disease
Subtitle of host publication Implications for Epigenetics and Health
EditorsNilanjana  Maulik, Tom  Karagiannis
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781493907069
ISBN (Print)9781493907052
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerobic glycolysis
  • Cancer metabolism
  • Cellular proliferation
  • Oncogenes
  • Tumor suppressor genes
  • Warburg effect

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