PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to compare survival in patients that underwent palliative resection treatment versus non-resection for incurable colorectal cancer (ICRC). METHODS: The case records of 201 patients with ICRC between January 2000 and December 2009 were reviewed. Demographics, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level, the location of the colon cancer, histology, metastasis, treatment options and median survival were analyzed retrospectively. We divided the patients into four groups according to the treatment modalities: resection alone, resection with post-operative chemotherapy, non-resection treatment by chemotherapy alone, and stent or bypass. Median survival times were compared according to each treatment option, and the survival rates were analyzed. RESULTS: 105 patients underwent palliative resection whereas 96 were treated with non-resection modalities. A palliative resection was performed in 44 cases for resection alone and in 61 cases for resection with post-operative chemotherapy. In patients treated with non-resection of the primary tumor, chemotherapy alone was done in 65 cases and stent or bypass in 31 cases. Multivariate analysis showed a median survival of 14 months in patients with palliative resections with post-operative chemotherapy, which was significantly higher than those for chemotherapy alone (8 months), primary tumor resection alone (5 months), and stent or bypass (5 months). Gender, age, ASA score, CEA level, the location of colon cancer, histology and the presence of multiple metastases were not independent factors in association with the median survival rate. CONCLUSION: In the treatment of ICRC, palliative resection followed by post-operative chemotherapy shows the most favorable median survival compared to other treatment options.