American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

NCDB to accept PUF Applications July 29 – August 31, 2015

From July 29 through August 31, 2015 the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) will accept applications for organ-site specific files including cases diagnosed between 2004 and 2013 for the 2013 Participant Use Data File (PUF) release.

The PUF contains de-identified patient level data and is designed to provide investigators at Commission on Cancer (CoC)-accredited cancer programs with a data resource they can use to review and advance the quality of care delivered to cancer patients through analyses of cases reported to the NCDB. The PUF is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant and meets the terms of the Business Associate Agreement (BAA between the American College of Surgeons and cancer programs accredited by the CoC.

Prior to submitting a PUF application you are advised to read the information provided on the NCDB PUF website at It is important that you also read the Getting Started Document and review the Data Dictionary in order to understand the variables and their limitations that could impact your proposed research. Applicants who have received a PUF file in the past should read the Summary of Changes document to learn about any updates since the last PUF RFA.

Prior to acceptance for review of the PUF application, the applicant must:

  • Have valid PUF applicant status that provides a CoC Datalinks User Name and ID (see your hospital registrar for assistance).
  • Complete the PUF application, including disease site requested, co-investigators listed, research question(s) proposed, analysis plan detailed, and other relevant information that clarifies the application.
  • Agree to the American College of Surgeons' CoC NCDB PUF Purpose and Terms of Agreement at the time of your application.

Successful PUF applicants awarded through the Summer 2015 call will receive files in Fall 2015. Prior to the download of the file, a Data Use Agreement (DUA) must be signed electronically.

Following receipt of a PUF file, if an applicant is found to be out of compliance with the PUF Program Policies, he or she may be barred from receiving future PUF files. If multiple issues are found within the same institution, the institution may be suspended from the PUF application process.

Questions regarding the NCDB PUFs or the RFA process for a PUF may be directed to NCDB technical staff at