A range of cellular, architectural, and physical cues in the tumor microenvironment influence the intrinsic and acquired resistance mechanisms that lead to treatment failure. Strategies that leverage photodynamic therapy (PDT), a photochemistry-based biophysical treatment modality, to regionally target and prime stubborn tumor populations may be essential to realizing durable improvements in cancer management while minimizing toxicity from traditional agents. Capturing these attributes in rationally-designed combinations has shown promise by synergistically reducing tumor area in 3D models, and durably controlling tumor burden in vivo. Among the areas that remain understudied is the influence of mechanical forces, such as hydrodynamic shear stress, on resistance, and the development of 3D tumor models and in vivo models that account for physical stress. To evaluate and optimize PDT regimens, and PDT-based combinations, designed to overcome resistance to conventional therapies due to physical stress, a multi-faceted approach is needed. Here the impact of hydrodynamic stress is evaluated in bioengineered 3D tumor models in the context of ovarian cancer. The potential value of using biologically inspired in vitro models to guide customized, rationally-designed PDT-based combination regimens will be presented.