Sensitive and reproducible platforms have been developed for detection, isolation, and enrichment of circulating tumor cells (CTCs)-rare cells that enter the blood from solid tumors, including those of the breast, prostate gland, lung, pancreas, and colon. These might be used as biomarkers in diagnosis or determination of prognosis. CTCs are no longer simply detected and quantified; they are now used in ex vivo studies of anticancer agents and early detection. We review what we have recently learned about CTCs from pancreatic tumors, describing advances in their isolation and analysis and challenges to their clinical utility. We summarize technologies used to isolate CTCs from blood samples of patients with pancreatic cancer, including immunoaffinity and label-free physical attribute-based capture. We explain methods of CTC analysis and how findings from these studies might be used to detect cancer at earlier stages, monitor disease progression, and determine prognosis. We review studies that have expanded CTCs for testing of anticancer agents and how these approaches might be used to personalize treatment. Advances in the detection, isolation, and analysis of CTCs have increased our understanding of the dissemination and progression of pancreatic cancer. However, standardization of methodologies and prospective studies are needed for this emerging technology to have a significant effect on clinical care.