© 2018, The Author(s). Chemotherapy-induced immunosuppression poses an additional challenge to its limited efficacy in pancreatic cancer (PC). Here we investigated the effect of gemcitabine on macrophages, which are the first line of immune-defense mechanisms. We observed an increased presence of macrophages in orthotopic human pancreatic tumor xenografts from mice treated with gemcitabine as compared to those from vehicle only-treated mice. Conditioned media from gemcitabine-treated PC cells (Gem-CM) promoted growth, migration and invasion of RAW264.7 macrophage. In addition, Gem-CM also induced upregulation of M2-polarized macrophage markers, arginase-1 and TGF-β1. Cytokine profiling of gemcitabine-treated PC cells identified IL-8 as the most differentially-expressed cytokine. Incubation of Gem-CM with IL-8 neutralizing antibody diminished its ability to induce growth, migration and invasion of RAW264.7 macrophages, but did not abrogate their M2 polarization. Together, our findings identify IL-8 as an important mediator in the gemcitabine-induced infiltration of macrophages within the pancreatic tumor microenvironment and suggest the requirement of additional mechanism(s) for macrophage polarization.