In this paper, we present an analytical framework to evaluate the latency performance of connection-based spectrum handoffs in cognitive radio (CR) networks. During the transmission period of a secondary connection, multiple interruptions from the primary users result in multiple spectrum handoffs and the need of predetermining a set of target channels for spectrum handoffs. To quantify the effects of channel obsolete issue on the target channel predetermination, we should consider the three key design features: 1) general service time distribution of the primary and secondary connections; 2) different operating channels in multiple handoffs; and 3) queuing delay due to channel contention from multiple secondary connections. To this end, we propose the preemptive resume priority (PRP) M/G/1 queuing network model to characterize the spectrum usage behaviors with all the three design features. This model aims to analyze the extended data delivery time of the secondary connections with proactively designed target channel sequences under various traffic arrival rates and service time distributions. These analytical results are applied to evaluate the latency performance of the connection-based spectrum handoff based on the target channel sequences mentioned in the IEEE 802.22 wireless regional area networks standard. Then, to reduce the extended data delivery time, a traffic-adaptive spectrum handoff is proposed, which changes the target channel sequence of spectrum handoffs based on traffic conditions. Compared to the existing target channel selection methods, this traffic-adaptive target channel selection approach can reduce the extended data transmission time by 35 percent, especially for the heavy traffic loads of the primary users.