Most pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients present with locally advanced or metastatic disease at diagnosis. in this retrospective study the authors evaluated the prognostic significance of the CEA and CA-19.9 serum tumor markers in advanced (unresectable) pancreatic cancer in correlation to other prognostic factors (demographic data, clinical parameters, treatment modality) and survival time using univariate and multivariate methods, in 215 patients with locally advanced (unresectable) or metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. median survival was 29.0 weeks, with 21.9% of patients surviving 36 weeks. Among 24 potential prognostic variables, 19 were associated with shorter survival. Multivariate analysis indicated that ten factors had a significant independent effect on survival: chemotherapy, surgery, tumor localization, elevated C-reactive protein, elevated CeA, CA 19-9 (>30 x nl), jaundice at diagnosis, weight loss >10%, distant metastases, and Karnofsky performance status. Patients who had only palliative therapy had a hazard ratio of 8.94 versus those who underwent palliative surgery and chemotherapy. Although certain clinical, biochemical and biological factors remain important predictors of survival in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, CA-19.9 serum tumor marker levels retain independent prognostic value for poor survival.