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To describe accurately the pattern, timing, and predictors of disease recurrence after a potentially curative resection for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).After surgery for PDAC, most patients will develop disease recurrence. Understanding the patterns and timing of disease failure can help guide improvements in therapy.Patients who underwent pancreatectomy for PDAC at the Johns Hopkins Hospital between 2000 and 2010 were included. Exclusion criteria were incomplete follow-up records, follow-up <24 months, and neoadjuvant therapy. The first recurrence site was recorded and recurrence-free survival (RFS) was estimated using Kaplan–Meier curves. Predictive factors for specific recurrence patterns were assessed by univariate and multivariate analyses using Cox-proportional hazard regression models.From the identified cohort of 1103 patients, 692 patients had comprehensive and detailed follow-up data available. At a median follow-up of 25.3 months, 531 (76.7%) of the 692 had recurred after a median RFS of 11.7 months. Most patients recurred at isolated distant sites (n = 307, 57.8%), while isolated local recurrence was seen in 126 patients (23.7%). Liver-only recurrence (n = 134, 25.2%) tended to occur early (median 6.9 mo), while lung-only recurrence (n = 78, 14.7%) occurred later (median 18.6 mo). A positive lymph node ratio >0.2 was a strong predictor for all distant disease recurrence. Patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy had fewer recurrences and a longer RFS of 18.0 and 17.2 months, respectively.Specific recurrence locations have different predictive factors and possess distinct RFS curves, supporting the hypothesis that unique biological differences exist among tumors leading to distinct patterns of recurrence.