(Pre)neoplastic lesions in livers of rats induced by diethylnitrosamine are characterized by elevated activity of the first irreversible enzyme of the oxidative branch of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), for production of NADPH. In the present study, the activity of G6PD, and the other NADPH-producing enzymes, phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (PGD), isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICD) and malate dehydrogenase (MD) was investigated in (pre)neoplastic lesions by metabolic mapping. Transketolase (TKT), the reversible rate-limiting enzyme of the non-oxidative branch of the PPP, mainly responsible for ribose production, was studied as well. Activity of G6PD in (pre)neoplastic lesions was highest, whereas activity of PGD and ICD was only 10% and of MD 5% of G6PD activity, respectively. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity in (pre)neoplastic lesions was increased 25 times compared with extralesional parenchyma, which was also the highest activity increase of the four NADPH-producing dehydrogenases. Transketolase activity was 0.1% of G6PD activity in lesions and was increased 2.5-fold as compared with normal parenchyma. Transketolase activity was localized by electron microscopy exclusively at membranes of granular endoplasmic reticulum in rat hepatoma cells where G6PD activity is localized as well. It is concluded that NADPH in (pre)neoplastic lesions is mainly produced by G6PD, whereas elevated TKT activity in (pre)neoplastic lesions is responsible for ribose formation with concomitant energy supply by glycolysis. The similar localization of G6PD and TKT activity suggests the channelling of substrates at this site to optimize the efficiency of NADPH and ribose synthesis.