Ubiquitin-specific protease 4 (USP4), has been reported to participate in the progression of various cancers due to its role in post-translational modulation. However, the prognostic significance and mechanism of USP4 in pancreatic cancer (PC) have not been well elucidated before. In the present study, we found that USP4 expression was higher in PC tissues than that in adjacent normal tissues and PC patients with high level of USP4 expression have a poor prognosis via immunohistochemistry and bioinformatics analyses. In vitro study showed that knockdown of USP4 inhibited PC cells proliferation, migration and invasion. Mechanistically, USP4 can activate nuclear factor kappa-B signaling pathway via stabilizing TNF receptor associated factor 6 at its protein level to promote the ability of proliferation, migration and invasion of PC cells. The results of this study revealed that USP4 plays a tumor-promoting role in PC and can be used as a prognostic indicator and therapeutic target for patients with resected PC.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.