Cellular adhesions play a critical role in cell behavior, and modified expression of cellular adhesion compounds has been linked to various cancers. We tested the role of cellular adhesions in drug response by studying three cellular culture models: three-dimensional tumor spheroids with well-developed cellular adhesions and extracellular matrix (ECM), dense three-dimensional cell pellets with moderate numbers of adhesions, and dilute three-dimensional cell suspensions in agarose having few adhesions. Our technique for measuring the drug response for the spheroids and cell pellets was biodynamic imaging (BDI), and for the suspensions was quasi-elastic light scattering (QELS). We tested several cytoskeletal chemotherapeutic drugs (nocodazole, cytochalasin-D, paclitaxel, and colchicine) on three cancer cell lines chosen from human colorectal adenocarcinoma (HT-29), human pancreatic carcinoma (MIA PaCa-2), and rat osteosarcoma (UMR-106) to exhibit differences in adhesion strength. Comparing tumor spheroid behavior to that of cell suspensions showed shifts in the spectral motion of the cancer tissues that match predictions based on different degrees of cell-cell contacts. The HT-29 cell line, which has the strongest adhesions in the spheroid model, exhibits anomalous behavior in some cases. These results highlight the importance of using three-dimensional tissue models in drug screening with cellular adhesions being a contributory factor in phenotypic differences between the drug responses of tissue and cells.