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National Cancer Data Base - Data Dictionary PUF 2016

Instructions to Potential Applicants

1. Confirm that you are at a Commission on Cancer (CoC)-accredited program.

2. Before you start planning your proposal, review the information available at This resource contains an introduction and overview to the NCDB PUFs, detailed documentation of the data items included in the distributed files, a list of investigators and publications that have used the NCDB PUF.

3. Secure support from your CoC-accredited cancer program. As part of the application process principal investigators (PIs) will be asked to upload a letter of support for the proposal, written on hospital or cancer program letter head, from the Cancer Committee Chair on record with the CoC. If you are the Chair, please provide a letter of support from your Cancer Program Administrator.

4. If you are not designated as an "NCDB PUF Applicant" in CoC Datalinks with a username and password please work with your cancer registry staff or whoever manages staff contacts in CoC Datalinks for your cancer program for assistance in securing these credentials. PIs will need to have these credentials in order to proceed with their PUF application. The steps required to obtain a CoC Datalinks username and password may be found using the following link:, and provide information on adding/removing roles and editing contact information. NOTE: Be sure your CoC Datalinks credentials identify you as a “NCDB PUF Applicant”. Once this role has been designated, it may take a few business days for the designation to be approved by the CoC. If you already have CoC Datalinks credentials, confirm that in addition to your current role you are also identified as a “NCDB PUF Applicant”.

5. Begin the NCDB PUF on-line application process. Once you have your CoC Datalinks credentials, log into the NCDB PUF Application Manager and start the on-line application. PIs can return at any time to complete, revise, or update an application until the application deadline. No facsimile or mailed copy of the application will be accepted.

6. Each NCDB PUF application will undergo a review. The review is performed by NCDB staff, who will check for the completeness of each proposal and assess the feasibility of the proposed project, given the data available in the PUFs. At the conclusion of the review process, proposals will be designated as approved; approved contingent on specified revision(s); or not approved. PIs whose proposal(s) are not approved will be asked to wait for the next Request for Application (RFA) cycle to submit a new application. PIs will be able to follow the status of their proposal on-line during the review process by logging into the NCDB PUF Application Manager.

7. PIs with accepted proposals will be notified when PUFs are ready to be downloaded. Files will be available through the NCDB PUF Application Manager only after the PI electronically signs the Data Use Agreement (DUA). NCDB PUFs are delivered as compressed and encrypted text files, and a file-specific password is provided. 7-zip, available for free at, is necessary to open these compressed files. PUFs are accompanied by SAS, SPSS, and STATA import scripts as well as informational documents describing PUF elements, changes from previous application cycles, and appropriate use of data. PUFs are available to PIs for 3 months following notification of their availability and may be downloaded up to three times within this period of time.

If you have any questions please contact NCDB technical staff at: