The re-emergence of interest in intermediary metabolism and the development of metabolomics in relation to cancer and other diseases provide a timely reason to revisit issues of tumour cell metabolism. In this review, we address the issue of the role of high aerobic glycolysis, which is commonly associated with the metabolism of many tumour cells. The concept presented emphasises the importance of the glycolysis-citrate-lipogenesis pathway in providing the synthetic and bioenergetic requirements that are essential for the growth and proliferation of tumour cells. We hope that our discussion will be informative and instructive, and will stimulate interest and research regarding the intermediary metabolism and its regulation in tumour cells. We express our appreciation to the many pioneering and contemporary researchers whose studies provide much of the basis for this presentation.