Caveolin 1 and Caveolin 2 are associated with breast cancer basal-like and triple-negative immunophenotype

Br J Cancer. 2008 Jul 22;99(2):327-34. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604463. Epub 2008 Jul 8.


Caveolin-1 (CAV1) and caveolin 2 (CAV2) are the principal structural proteins of caveolae, sphingolipid and cholesterol-rich invaginations of the plasma membrane involved in vesicular trafficking and signal transduction. Over the recent years there has been controversy about their role in breast cancer and their suitability as markers of basal-like phenotype. Caveolin-1 and CAV2 protein expression was assessed on a tissue microarray containing 880 unselected invasive breast cancer cases, by means of immunohistochemistry. Caveolin-1 and CAV2 expression was observed in 13.4 and 5.9% of all breast cancer, respectively. Their expression was strongly associated with high histological grade, lack of steroid hormone receptor positivity (ER and PR), and expression of basal markers (basal cytokeratins, P63, P-cadherin). Furthermore, there was a significant association between CAV1 and CAV2 expression and basal-like phenotype. On univariate analysis only CAV2 had a prognostic impact on breast cancer-specific survival; however, this was not independent from other traditional markers on multivariate analysis. Our results demonstrate that both CAV1 and CAV2 are associated with basal-like phenotype. Further studies are warranted to determine whether they play an oncogenic role in basal-like/triple-negative breast cancer development or are just surrogate markers for this subgroup.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Caveolin 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Caveolin 2 / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CAV2 protein, human
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolin 2