Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Q: What is Warburg effect?

Answer: Warburg effect is the basis of positron emission tomography (PET) scan, and physicians are expected to know it. In normal cells, there is a low rate of glycolysis followed by oxidation of pyruvate in mitochondria. But in tumor cells there is a high rate of glycolysis followed by lactic acid fermentation in the cytosol, producing energy. This continue to happen despite there is no dearth of oxygen in cytosol. This phenomenon leads to enhanced intracellular trapping of the 18-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) within tumor cells, that can be seen on the PET scan.


1. Warburg O (February 1956). "On the origin of cancer cells". Science. 123 (3191): 309–14.

2. Gatenby RA, Gillies RJ (November 2004). "Why do cancers have high aerobic glycolysis?". Nature Reviews. Cancer. 4 (11): 891–9.

3. Kim JW, Dang CV (September 2006). "Cancer's molecular sweet tooth and the Warburg effect". Cancer Research. 66 (18): 8927–30. 

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