Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a potential adjuvant therapy in pancreatic cancer with several advantages. Mechanistically, pancreatic cancer PDT can induce apoptosis and necrosis of pancreatic cancer cells and lead to vascular damage and enhance anti-tumor immune response in tumor tissues. However, limitations of current photosensitizers such as limited penetration depth, poor targeted therapy and inadequate reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation still exist. Recently, several novel photosensitizers have been reported to break through limits in pancreatic cancer PDT. Methods combined with biomedical engineering, materialogy and chemical engineering have been employed to overcome the difficulties and to realize targeted therapy. Preclinical and clinical trials also preliminarily confirmed the technical feasibility and safety of pancreatic cancer PDT. Therefore, PDT may be potential to be used as an effective adjuvant therapy in pancreatic cancer multimodality therapy. This review will give an overview about pancreatic cancer PDT from basic experimental studies, preclinical and clinical application to future direction of pancreatic cancer PDT.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.