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Patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma often present with distant metastatic disease. We aimed to assess whether improvements in survival of clinical trials translated to a population-based level.The US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry was queried. Adult patients with distant metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas were included from 1988 to 2008. Overall survival was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier curves as well as multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models.In total, 32,452 patients were included. Mean age was 67.6 (SD: 11.7) years, and 15,341 (47.3%) were female. Median overall survival was 3 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 3–3 months), which increased from 2 (CI, 2–2) months in 1988 to 3 (CI, 3–4) months in 2008. After adjustment for multiple covariates, the hazard ratio (HR) decreased by 0.977 per year (CI, 0.975–0.980). In multivariable-adjusted survival analyses, tumor location in the pancreatic body/tail (HR, 1.10), male sex (HR, 1.09), increasing age (HR, 1.016), African American ethnicity (HR, 1.16), nonmarried civil status (HR, 1.18), and absence of radiotherapy (HR, 1.41) were associated with worse survival (P < 0.001 for all predictors).The improvement in overall survival over the past 2 decades among patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma is modest and disappointing. More effective therapeutic strategies for advanced disease are desperately needed.