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Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Aug;3(8):571-81.

Caveolae: mining little caves for new cancer targets.

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  • 1Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Division of Vascular Biology and Angiogenesis, 10835 Altman Row, San Diego, California 92121, USA.


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.

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