Caveolae are non-clathrin invaginations of the plasma membrane in most cell types; they are involved in signalling functions and molecule trafficking, thus modulating several biological functions, including cell growth, apoptosis and angiogenesis. The major structural protein in caveolae is caveolin-1, which is known to act as a key regulator in cancer onset and progression through its role as a tumour suppressor. Caveolin-1 can also promote cell proliferation, survival and metastasis as well as chemo- and radioresistance. Here, we discuss recent findings and novel concepts that support a role for caveolin-1 in cancer development and its distant spreading. We also address the potential application of caveolin-1 in tumour therapy and diagnosis.