Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death with a 5-year survival less than 5 percent despite rigorous interventions. This largely is due to its late presentation, aggressive metastasis, and a lack of effective adjuvant therapies. Cytokines have been studied in many tumor types, where they have been shown to be an important influence in cancer cell behavior and to have potential as tumor markers, therapeutic targets, or as treatments themselves. Recently, the roles cytokines play in pancreatic cancer have become the subject of intense investigation. However, the story is complicated, largely because of the pleiotropic and overlapping nature of cytokine functions. This article attempts to provide a focused review of recent discoveries in this area by organizing the material along the pathophysiologic tasks a cancer cell must accomplish to achieve malignancy. We examined how cytokines act to create a microenvironment conducive to tumor cell survival and growth, discussed how cytokines affect proliferation, invasion, metastasis, and apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells, and we summarized how this knowledge has been applied either to target cytokines or use them therapeutically.