Published online Aug 28, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i32.7203
Peer-review started: May 16, 2016
First decision: June 20, 2016
Revised: July 11, 2016
Accepted: August 1, 2016
Article in press: August 1, 2016
Published online: August 28, 2016
Core tip: Physical forces, either within tissues or externally applied, affect all tissues of the body. Cell mechanotransduction converts such forces into cellular responses that affect gene expression, protein synthesis, proliferation and morphogenesis. Here, we focused on recent studies covering the impact of physical stimuli such as compression, shear stress, adhesion and stiffness, in the development of colorectal cancer. We highlight that such stimuli play a major role in the tumor progression, affecting the Wnt pathway, being involved in the differentiation of non-invasive cells into metastatic variants and helping metastatic cells to survive the mechanical stress associated with intravasation, circulation and extravasation.