In pancreatic cancer, acquiring a sufficient amount of tumor tissue is an obstacle. The soluble form of PD-L1 (sPD-L1) may have immunosuppressive activity. Here, we evaluated the prognostic implications of sPD-L1 in unresectable pancreatic cancer. We prospectively enrolled 60 patients treated with first-line FOLFIRINOX chemotherapy. We collected blood samples at diagnosis, first response assessment and disease progression. Serum sPD-L1 levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The median sPD-L1 level was 1.7 ng/mL (range, 0.4–5.7 ng/mL). Patients with low sPD-L1 level (<4.6 ng/mL) at diagnosis showed better overall survival (OS) than those with high sPD-L1 level (P = 0.015). Multivariate analysis identified sPD-L1 and the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio as independent prognostic factors for OS. During chemotherapy, more patients achieved complete response (CR)/partial response (PR) as their best response when sPD-L1 was decreased at the first response assessment (P = 0.038). In the patients who achieved CR/PR as their best response, sPD-L1 was significantly higher at the time of disease progression than at the first response assessment (P = 0.025). In conclusion, the sPD-L1 level at diagnosis exhibits a prognostic value in pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, sPD-L1 dynamics correlate with disease course and could be used to understand various changes in the tumor microenvironment during chemotherapy.