mCODE™: Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements

The Initiative to Create a Core Cancer Model and Foundational EHR Data Elements

The Answer Is in the Data

Almost 40% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. But only 3% of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials, which gather most of the high-quality data used for cancer research. That’s not enough data to quickly lead to better treatments and results.

What if we could learn from the experiences of the other 97% of patients representing all demographics? What if we could explore the data from millions of patients and study the myriad combinations and comparisons of treatment parameters to provide substantial insights on the best treatment for each patient?

Data from most of the nearly 15 million individuals living with cancer in the U.S. is contained in electronic health records (EHRs) of some kind. But many EHR systems in use prioritize the collection of different types of data, use different terms to describe the same type of data, or collect data in different formats, making them incompatible with one another. This incompatibility dramatically limits the ability of cancer researchers and doctors to learn from patient records, hinders care coordination, and adds to the administrative burdens and costs for all users, but especially practices and patients.

That’s why we need mCODE.

We See the Possibilities

Every interaction between a clinician and a cancer patient provides high-quality data that could lead to safer care, improved outcomes, and lower costs. But first we need data that is:

  • Standardized and collected in a computable manner so it can be aggregated with data from many other patients and analyzed for best practices
  • Exchanged through EHR systems that are interoperable
  • Collected in a streamlined way that doesn’t burden the clinicians
  • Secure and protects patient privacy

We Can Make This Happen

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and its nonprofit subsidiary, CancerLinQ LLC, and The MITRE Corporation are collaborating to develop and launch mCODE. We have identified those minimal cancer data elements that are essential for analyzing patient characteristics, treatments, and outcomes across patients and practices to improve treatment and care coordination.

mCODE provides both a common data language and an open source, nonproprietary data model for interconnectivity across systems. Once adopted across the oncology community, mCODE can facilitate the ability of clinicians and researchers to provide better treatments for cancer patients by using the invaluable information contained in the EHRs.

Every Patient's Journey Can Improve All Future Care

Interested in joining the mCODE Council? Submit your application online.

Downloadable Information on mCODE

The mCODE data specification is made available on an open source basis. We ask requesters to provide their contact information to better understand the potential user base, which will help us tailor use cases and features for future development. Also, we will notify you of updates and other relevant information on mCODE. (This is optional, and you can opt out of our email list at any time.)

Thank you for your interest in mCODE and cancer data interoperability.

Register and Access mCODE 

Available to access mCODE Version 1.0 Standard For Trial Use: Conceptual Model Diagram, Data Dictionary, and FHIR Implementation Guide. 

Implementing mCODE is a community-wide effort across all stakeholders and we welcome your feedback!

How mCODE Benefits You

Patients/Advocacy Groups


  • mCODE aims to improve care for patients, improve quality of life, and minimize costs
  • Patients, together with their clinicians, could use mCODE-related data to make evidence-based decisions about their care
  • mCODE will make it easier for patients to own and share their health records as they choose by enabling interoperability among EHR systems

EHR and IT Vendors/Developers


  • mCODE aims to help you harness the potential capabilities of EHRs
  • Interoperability among systems will enable doctors and patients to more easily share health records across providers and payers and be able to easily integrate records from others into their treatment plans
  • mCODE aims to improve the safety and quality of care for all cancer patients
  • mCODE should enable various applications to view and share information across one another

Clinicians and Health Systems


  • mCODE aims to empower shared decision-making between patients and providers
  • It will provide easier access to data and support quality metrics
  • It will provide more consistent information about treatments across demographics
  • mCODE aims to improve the safety and quality of care through data analysis across shared records
  • mCODE will improve interoperability among EHR systems, which will improve the ability to share their records across multiple providers and care locations
  • mCODE aspires to be a low-burden way to collect data and should allow the data in clinical notes to be captured and shared without expensive curation



  • Interoperability among systems will enable researchers to analyze data about treatments and lead to solutions and research opportunities
  • mCODE will drive consistency in the data available to use in R&D
  • Consistent data will in turn support research across all demographics, based on real-world evidence



  • mCODE aims to provide consistent information about treatments across demographics and to support quality metrics

Monica Bertagnolli, President, ASCO

Andre Quina, Co-Principal Investigator for mCODE, The MITRE Corporation

Contact Us

mCODE™ is a trademark of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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