Caveolin-1 and cancer metabolism in the tumor microenvironment: markers, models, and mechanisms

Annu Rev Pathol. 2012;7:423-67. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-011811-120856. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


Caveolins are a family of membrane-bound scaffolding proteins that compartmentalize and negatively regulate signal transduction. Recent studies have implicated a loss of caveolin-1 (Cav-1) expression in the pathogenesis of human cancers. Loss of Cav-1 expression in cancer-associated fibroblasts results in an activated tumor microenvironment, thereby driving early tumor recurrence, metastasis, and poor clinical outcome in breast and prostate cancers. We describe various paracrine signaling mechanism(s) by which the loss of stromal Cav-1 promotes tumor progression, including fibrosis, extracellular matrix remodeling, and the metabolic/catabolic reprogramming of cancer-associated fibroblast, to fuel the growth of adjacent tumor cells. It appears that oxidative stress is the root cause of initiation of the loss of stromal Cav-1 via autophagy, which provides further impetus for the use of antioxidants in anticancer therapy. Finally, we discuss the functional role of Cav-1 in epithelial cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Caveolin 1 / metabolism*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Tumor Microenvironment*


  • Caveolin 1