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

NCDB to accept PUF Applications January 2015

The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) is pleased to announce it will now be accepting applications on a semi-annual basis.  

From January 5–31, 2015, the NCDB will accept applications for organ-site specific files including cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2012.  In July 2015, the NCDB will begin accepting applications for organ-site specific files including cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2013.

The NCDB PUF is a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant data file containing cases submitted to the Commission on Cancer's (CoC) NCDB and complies with the terms of the Business Associate Agreement between the American College of Surgeons and cancer programs accredited by the CoC. The PUF contains de-identified patient level data and is designed to provide investigators at 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.

Prior to planning to submit a PUF, you are advised to read the information provided on the following web site.  It is important that you also read the Getting Started Document, in order to understand the variables and their limitations that could impact your proposed research. 

Applicants are expected to:

  • Be added as a PUF applicant with a CoC Datalinks User Name and ID. (see  your cancer registrar for assistance)
  • Complete PUF application, including disease site requested, co-investigators, research question, analysis plan and other relevant information.
  • Receive a letter of support from cancer programs cancer committee chair, which is to be on letterhead and uploaded at the time of submission of your application for your application to be reviewed.
  • Agree to the American College of Surgeons' CoC NCDB Participant Use File (PUF) Purpose and Terms of Agreement and upload this document at the time of your application.  This must be completed for your application to be reviewed.

Successful PUF applicants awarded through January call will receive files on April 1, 2015.  Prior to the download of the file a Data Use Agreement (DUA) must be signed electronically before the data can be received.  

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