Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Parallels between embryo and cancer cell metabolism

Smith, Danielle G.; Sturmey, Roger


Danielle G. Smith


A key characteristic of cancer cells is the ability to switch from a predominantly oxidative metabolism to glycolysis and the production of lactate even when oxygen is plentiful. This metabolic switch, known as the Warburg effect, was first described in the 1920s, and has fascinated and puzzled researchers ever since. However, a dramatic increase in glycolysis in the presence of oxygen is one of the hallmarks of the development of the early mammalian embryo; a metabolic switch with many parallels to the Warburg effect of cancers. The present review provides a brief overview of this and other similarities between the metabolism in tumours and early embryos and proposes whether knowledge of early embryo metabolism can help us to understand metabolic regulation in cancer cells.


Smith, D., & Sturmey, R. (2013). Parallels between embryo and cancer cell metabolism. Biochemical Society Transactions, 41(2), 664 - 669.

Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2013
Online Publication Date Mar 21, 2013
Publication Date Mar 21, 2013
Publicly Available Date Apr 25, 2018
Journal Biochemical Society Transactions
Print ISSN 0300-5127
Electronic ISSN 1470-8752
Publisher Portland Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 2
Pages 664 - 669
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations