Objectives The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency in patients with pancreatic or periampullary cancer, both before and after resection. Methods Systematic review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA guidelines). We included studies reporting on pancreatic exocrine insufficiency in patients with pancreatic or periampullary cancer. Data on patient demographics, type of pancreatic resection, diagnostic test, and occurrence of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency were extracted. Prevalence of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency was calculated before and after pancreatic resections and in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Results Nine observational cohort studies with 693 patients were included. Median preoperative prevalence of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency was 44% (range, 42%-47%) before pancreatoduodenectomy, 20% (range, 16%-67%) before distal pancreatectomy, 63% before total pancreatectomy, and 25% to 50% in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. The median prevalence of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency at least 6 months after pancreatoduodenectomy was 74% (range, 36%-100%) and 67% to 80% after distal pancreatectomy. Conclusion Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency is diagnosed in approximately half of all patients scheduled to undergo resection for pancreatic or periampullary cancer. The prevalence increases markedly after resection. These data highlight the need of pancreatic enzyme suppletion in these patients.