Porous chitosan (CS)/graphene oxide (GO) composite xerogels were prepared through a simple and “green” freeze-drying method. Scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectrometry, powder X-ray diffraction, and compressive strength measurements were performed to characterize the microstructures and mechanical properties of as-prepared composite xerogels. The results show that the incorporation of GO resulted in an observable change in the porous structure and an obvious increase in the compressive strength. The abilities of the composite xerogels to absorb and slowly release an anticancer drug, doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX), in particular, the influence of different GO contents, were investigated systematically. The porous CS/GO composite xerogels exhibited efficient DOX-delivery ability, and both the adsorption and slow-release abilities increased obviously with increasing GO content. Additionally, the best adsorption concentration of DOX was 0.2 mg/mL, and the cumulative release percentage of DOX from the xerogels at pH4 much higher than that at pH 7.4. Therefore, such porous CS/GO composite xerogels could be promising materials as postoperation implanting stents for the design of new anticancer drug-release carriers. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2014, 131, 40006.