PURPOSE: We performed a retrospective non-randomized clinical study of locally advanced rectal cancer, to evaluate the anal sphincter preservation rates, down staging rates and survival rates of preoperative chemoradiotherapy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From January 2002 to December 2005, patients with pathologically confirmed rectal cancer with clinical stage T2 or higher, or patients with lymph node metastasis were enrolled in this study. A preoperative staging work-up was conducted in 36 patients. All patients were treated with preoperative chemoradiotherapy, and curative resection was performed for 26 patients at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital. Radiotherapy treatment planning was conducted with the use of planning CT for all patients. A total dose of 45.0~52.2 Gy conventionally fractionated three-dimensional radiotherapy was delivered to the whole pelvis. Chemotherapy was given at the first and fifth week of radiation therapy with continuous infusion i.v. 5-FU (Fluorouracil) and LV (Leucovorine). Surgical resection was performed 2 to 4 weeks after the completion of the chemoradiotherapy regimen. RESULTS: The complete resection rate with negative resection margin was 100% (26/26). However, a pathologically complete response was not seen after curative resection. Surgery was done by LAR (low anterior resection) in 23 patients and APR (abdomino-perineal resection) in 3 patients. The sphincter preservation rate was 88.5% (23/26), down staging of the tumor occurred in 12 patients (46.2%) and down-sizing of the tumor occurred in 19 patients (73%). Local recurrence after surgical resection developed in 1 patient, and distant metastasis developed in 3 patients. The local recurrence free survival rate, distant metastasis free survival rate, and progression free survival rate were 96.7%, 87% and 83.1%, respectively. Treatment related toxicity was minimal except for one grade 3, one grade 4 anemia, one grade 3 leukopenia, and one grade 3 ileus. CONCLUSION: Preoperative concurrent chmoradiotherapy for locally advanced rectal cancer seems to have some potential benefits: high sphincter preservation and down staging. Treatment related toxicity was minimal and a high compliance with treatment was seen in this study. Further long-term follow-up with a larger group of patients is required.