The authors retrospectively analyzed the results of irradiation in 148 cases of primary inoperable and recurrent adenoearcinoma of the colon and rectum treated at the Department of Radiation Therapy, Roswell Park Memorial Institute between 1962 and 1970. This group includes 95 recurrences and 53 inoperable primaries. Uninterrupted radiotherapy was used in 118 cases and split-course technique in 30 cases. Eleven patients received combined radiotherapy and surgery. Seventy-eight patients received a combination of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and irradiation. The response rate and survival of individual groups is discussed in detail. This study indicated that perineal recurrences should receive whole pelvic irradiation in addition to perineum field. Split-course technique appeared to yield a better survival than the uninterrupted course. The best 5-year survival rate (64%) is found in the group treated with a combination of radiation and surgery. For locally advanced, inoperable cancers, split-course technique, combined 5-FU and irradiation gave the best results, achieving longer palliation with improved quality of life and sometimes yielding cure (5-year survival).