Caveolin1: its roles in normal and cancer stem cells

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2021 Sep 8. doi: 10.1007/s00432-021-03793-2. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Stem cells are characterized by the capability of self-renewal and multi-differentiation. Normal stem cells, which are important for tissue repair and tissue regeneration, can be divided into embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and somatic stem cells (SSCs) depending on their origin. As a subpopulation of cells within cancer, cancer stem cells (CSCs) are at the root of therapeutic resistance. Tumor-initiating cells (TICs) are necessary for tumor initiation. Caveolin1 (Cav1), a membrane protein located at the caveolae, participates in cell lipid transport, cell migration, cell proliferation, and cell signal transduction. The purpose of this review was to explore the relationship between Cav1 and stem cells.

Results: In ESCs, Cav1 is beneficial for self-renewal, proliferation, and migration. In SSCs, Cav1 exhibits positive or/and negative effects on stem cell self-renewal, differentiation, proliferation, migration, and angiogenic capacity. Cav1 deficiency impairs normal stem cell-based tissue repair. In CSCs, Cav1 inhibits or/and promotes CSC self-renewal, differentiation, invasion, migration, tumorigenicity ability, and CSC formation. And suppressing Cav1 promotes chemo-sensitivity in CSCs and TICs.

Conclusion: Cav1 shows dual roles in stem cell biology. Targeting the Cav1-stem cell axis would be a new way for tissue repair and cancer drug resistance.

Keywords: Cancer; Caveolin 1; Differentiation; Self-renewal; Stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review