A case is the collection of all data related to a specific patient in the context of a specific project.
A case refers to a specific cancer patient or cell line in the context of a project1. In the GDC Data Model, cases are associated with: 1) a project, 2) the samples collected from the case, and 3) the clinical data2.
Cases are associated with all clinical data elements as well as the clinical and biospecimen supplemental information3. The case entity also serves as an API endpoint which allows for case-level data to be easily retrievable using programmatic methods.
Cases are also the basic unit of registration for the GDC Submission Portal. All cases that are to be submitted to a project need to be registered with dbGaP on a case-level basis prior to submission.