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

Participant User Files

The National Cancer Database (NCDB) Participant User Data File (PUF) is a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant data file containing cases submitted to the Commission on Cancer’s (CoC) NCDB. The PUF contains de-identified patient level data that do not identify hospitals, health care providers, or patients as agreed to in the Business Associate Agreement that each CoC-accredited program has signed with the American College of Surgeons. The PUFs are designed to provide investigators associated with 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. NCDB PUFs are only available through an application process to investigators associated with CoC-accredited cancer programs. The Request for Applications is open year round, and PUFs are referred to by their most recent year of diagnosis included in the data file. PUFs are made available in flat text files and are accompanied by SAS and SPSS file scripts to assign value and variable labels.

For additional information about the NCDB you can read “Using the National Cancer Database for Outcomes Research: A Review” and “Incident cases captured in the National Cancer Database compared with those in U.S. Population Based Central Cancer Registries in 2012–2014.”

Announcements/What’s New

2018 PUF Changes
Includes a description of changes in the 2018 PUF files

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Links to Cancer Registry and Other Manuals

Only a subset of data items in the FORDS and STORE manuals are included in the PUF.

Facility Oncology Registry Data Standards (FORDS): Revised for 2016
(PUF files include a subset of FORDs and other non-FORDs data items)

Standards for Oncology Registry Entry (STORE)
(Implemented for 2018 diagnoses and later)

SEER*Rx Interactive Drug Database
(Indicating which drugs are associated with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation variables)

ICD-0-3 Primary Site and Histology Code Book

Collaborative Stage Items Definitions for Site Specific Factors Collected in 2004-2017

Definitions for Site-Specific Data Items and Grade Items Defined in 2018

AJCC 6th, 7th, and 8th Edition Cancer Staging Manuals
2004-2018 PUF includes 6th Edition (2004-2009), 7th Edition Staging criteria (2010-2017), and 8th Edition Staging criteria (2018+)

Contact with any questions.