New aspects of the Warburg effect in cancer cell biology

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2012 Jun;23(4):352-61. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2012.02.003. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


Altered cellular metabolism is a defining feature of cancer [1]. The best studied metabolic phenotype of cancer is aerobic glycolysis--also known as the Warburg effect--characterized by increased metabolism of glucose to lactate in the presence of sufficient oxygen. Interest in the Warburg effect has escalated in recent years due to the proven utility of FDG-PET for imaging tumors in cancer patients and growing evidence that mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes directly impact metabolism. The goals of this review are to provide an organized snapshot of the current understanding of regulatory mechanisms important for Warburg effect and its role in tumor biology. Since several reviews have covered aspects of this topic in recent years, we focus on newest contributions to the field and reference other reviews where appropriate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glycolysis* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Isoenzymes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Adenosine Triphosphate