CDISC Terminology

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Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) is an open, non-profit organization that develops and supports global data standards to improve the quality and interoperability of medical research and healthcare. CDISC standards are widely used for study planning and data collection, tabulation, analysis, and submissions to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies internationally.

CDISC partners with NCI EVS to develop and support controlled terminology for all CDISC foundational standards (SDTM, CDASH, ADaM, SEND) and all CFAST Therapeutic Area standards. CDISC terminology goes through an extensive process of content development and public review, with wide participation from the research and healthcare community. EVS maintains and distributes SDTM controlled terminology as part of NCI Thesaurus. More information is available at CDISC's Controlled Terminology Web page.

CDISC Terminology is freely available, without licensing restrictions, via the links on this NCI Web page. CDISC Terminology is versioned by date; all previous versions can be found by clicking on the directory links below and going into the Archive subdirectory.

Study Data Tabulation Model (SDTM)

SDTM is an international standard for clinical research data, and is approved by the FDA as a standard electronic submission format. NCI EVS maintains and distributes SDTM controlled terminology as part of NCI Thesaurus. More information is available at CDISC's SDTM Web page

Questionnaires, Ratings, and Scales (QRS) Terminology

QRS Terminology contains standardized, controlled terminology for commonly used questionnaires, functional tests, and clinical classifications in biomedical and therapeutic area research. This terminology was previously referred to as QS, QS-FT, and COA; older versions of this terminology can be found in the COA Archive and the Questionnaire (QS and QS-FT) Archive. NCI EVS maintains and distributes QRS controlled terminology as part of NCI Thesaurus. More information is available at CDISC's Questionnaires, Ratings and Scales Web page. QRS terminology can be used for both collection (CDASH) and submission (SDTM) data sets.

Clinical Data Acquisition Standards Harmonization (CDASH)

CDISC leads the CDASH project, which develops clinical research study content standards in collaboration with sixteen partner organizations including NCI. NCI EVS maintains and distributes CDASH controlled terminology as part of NCI Thesaurus. More information is available at CDISC's CDASH Web page. CDASH terminology is a subset of SDTM terminology.

Analysis Data Model (ADaM)

CDISC leads the ADaM project, which supports efficient generation, replication, review and submission of analysis results from clinical trial data. NCI EVS maintains and distributes ADaM controlled terminology as part of NCI Thesaurus. 

Standard for the Exchange of Nonclinical Data (SEND)

CDISC leads the SEND project, which guides the organization, structure and format of standard nonclinical tabulation data sets for interchange between organizations such as sponsors and CROs and for submission to a regulatory authority such as the FDA. NCI EVS maintains and distributes SEND controlled terminology as part of NCI Thesaurus. 

Coalition for Accelerating Standards and Therapies (CFAST) Therapeutic Area Standards

NCI EVS has partnered with CDISC, the Critical Path Institute (C-Path), the FDA, TransCelerate BioPharma (TCB), and other national and international organizations to create CDISC Therapeutic Area (TA)-specific data standards to support clinical trials, clinical care, research, and public health. TA standards contain specialized extensions to CDISC foundational models including the data collection standard CDASH, the data submission standard SDTM, and the data analysis standard ADaM, and include CDISC controlled terminology managed as a subset of NCI Thesaurus.

CDISC's Therapeutic Area Standards Web page provides downloads of TA standards for Alzheimer’s Disease, Asthma, Cardiovascular, Chronic Hepatitis C, Diabetes, Dyslipidemia, Influenza, Multiple Sclerosis, Pain, Parkinson’s Disease, Polycystic Kidney Disease, QT Studies, Schizophrenia, Tuberculosis, and Virology. Projects currently in development include Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Traumatic Brain Injury, COPD, Diabetic Kidney Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. All TA projects go through a four week period of public review and comment; the CDISC site contains a list of TA projects currently available for public review, with instructions on how to submit comments.

CDISC's Clinical Data Element Glossary contains controlled terminology supporting earlier versions of TA standards that were never published. This terminology subset has been deprecated, and will be retired at the end of 2015. NCI EVS distributes this terminology as part of NCI Thesaurus.

New Term Requests

The CDISC New Term Request web page handles suggestions for both new terminology and changes to existing terminology. The CDISC Term Request Tracking Excel spreadsheet helps members of the CDISC community review and comment on all submitted requests.

  • Updated: September 3, 2015