Limited information on salvage treatment in patients affected by pancreatic cancer is available. At failure, about half of the patients present good performance status (PS) and are candidate for further treatment. Patients >18 years, PS >or=50, with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma previously treated with gemcitabine-containing chemotherapy, and progression-free survival (PFS) <12 months received a combination of raltitrexed (3 mg m(-2)) and oxaliplatin (130 mg m(-2)) every 3 weeks until progression, toxicity, or a maximum of six cycles. A total of 41 patients received 137 cycles of chemotherapy. Dose intensity for both drugs was 92% of the intended dose. Main grade >2 toxicity was: neutropenia in five patients (12%), thrombocytopenia, liver and vomiting in three (7%), fatigue in two (5%). In total, 10 patients (24%) yielded a partial response, 11 a stable disease. Progression-free survival at 6 months was 14.6%. Median survival was 5.2 months. Survival was significantly longer in patients with previous PFS >6 months and in patients without pancreatic localisation. A clinically relevant improvement of quality of life was observed in numerous domains. Raltitrexed-oxaliplatin regimen may constitute a treatment opportunity in gemcitabine-resistant metastatic pancreatic cancer. Previous PFS interval may allow the identification of patients who are more likely to benefit from salvage treatment.