Caveolae: mining little caves for new cancer targets

Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Aug;3(8):571-81. doi: 10.1038/nrc1146.


Caveolae exist at cell surfaces as caveolin-coated invaginations that perform transport and signalling functions influencing cell growth, apoptosis, angiogenesis and transvascular exchange. Caveolin could constitute a key switch in tumour development through its function as a tumour suppressor and as a promoter of metastasis, chemoresistance and survival. Targeting of drugs and gene vectors to tissue-specific proteins in caveolae allows selective delivery into vascular endothelial cells in vivo and might even improve direct access to solid-tumour cells. Therefore, caveolae seem to be rich in potential targets for cancer imaging and therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Biological Transport
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Caveolae / physiology*
  • Cell Survival
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic


  • Antineoplastic Agents