Local excision of rectal cancer in low-risk patients is appealing but it provides limited control of the disease. Postoperative radiation therapy may improve results. The Authors report on their experience with preoperative high dose radiation therapy for rectal cancer patients; more recently, chemoradiation was used. Local excision is advised only for those patients with minimal or no residual disease. The results obtained in 34 cases are encouraging; moreover, a better control of the disease seems to be offered combining chemo- and radiotherapy.