Colorectal cancer (CRC) has formed a canonical example of tumourigenesis ever since its use in Fearon and Vogelstein's linear model of genetic mutation, and continues to generate a huge amount of research interest. Over time, the field has witnessed a transition from solely experimental work to the inclusion of mathematical and computational modelling. The fusion of these disciplines has the potential to provide valuable insights into oncologic processes, but also presents the challenge of uniting many diverse perspectives. Furthermore, the cancer cell phenotype defined by the 'Hallmarks of Cancer' has been extended in recent times and provides an excellent basis for future research. The authors present a timely summary of the literature relating to CRC, addressing the traditional experimental findings, summarising the key mathematical and computational approaches, and emphasising the role of the Hallmarks in current and future developments. The authors conclude with a discussion of interdisciplinary work, outlining areas of experimental interest which would benefit from the insight that theoretical modelling can provide. © The institution of engineering and technology 2013.