The caveolin-1 connection to cell death and survival

Curr Mol Med. 2013 Feb;13(2):266-81. doi: 10.2174/156652413804810745.


Caveolins are a family of membrane proteins required for the formation of small plasma membrane invaginations called caveolae that are implicated in cellular trafficking processes. In addition to this structural role, these scaffolding proteins modulate numerous intracellular signaling pathways; often via direct interaction with specific binding partners. Caveolin-1 is particularly well-studied in this respect and has been attributed a large variety of functions. Thus, Caveolin-1 also represents the best-characterized isoform of this family with respect to its participation in cancer. Rather strikingly, available evidence indicates that Caveolin-1 belongs to a select group of proteins that function, depending on the cellular settings, both as tumor suppressor and promoter of cellular traits commonly associated with enhanced malignant behavior, such as metastasis and multi-drug resistance. The mechanisms underlying such ambiguity in Caveolin-1 function constitute an area of great interest. Here, we will focus on discussing how Caveolin-1 modulates cell death and survival pathways and how this may contribute to a better understanding of the ambiguous role this protein plays in cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Caveolae / drug effects
  • Caveolae / metabolism
  • Caveolin 1 / genetics*
  • Caveolin 1 / metabolism
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Death / genetics
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • CAV1 protein, human
  • Caveolin 1
  • Neoplasm Proteins