Mark P. Purdue, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch


9609 Medical Center Drive
Room SG/6E140
Rockville, MD 20850


Research Topics

Dr. Mark Purdue’s interests center on applying molecular and classical epidemiologic methods to study the causes of cancer and improve exposure assessment. He is particularly interested in evaluating the potential carcinogenicity of chlorinated solvents and investigating the etiology of kidney cancer and lymphomas.

Chlorinated Solvents

Chlorinated solvents are manmade compounds widely used across different industries for a variety of applications. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified trichloroethylene (TCE), commonly used in vapor degreasing in the past, as a (Group 1) human carcinogen affecting kidney cancer, and the widely used dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene (“Perc”, also known as tetrachloroethylene) as a probable human carcinogen (Group 2A).

Dr. Purdue is leading case-control and cohort investigations to clarify whether TCE is a human carcinogen at sites other than the kidney, and whether Perc and other chlorinated solvents are human carcinogens at any site. He is also conducting molecular epidemiologic research to elucidate exposure-related biologic mechanisms relevant to cancer.

Kidney Cancer

Investigations of kidney cancer etiology make up a large part of Dr. Purdue’s research program. His leadership in organizing genome-wide association studies have produced seminal contributions to our understanding of genetic susceptibility for this malignancy. In other kidney cancer research, Dr. Purdue has been evaluating suspected occupational risk factors, investigating possible factors underlying the excess of this disease among Black vs. White Americans, and exploring the existence of etiologic heterogeneity across histologic and molecular subtypes.


While severe immune dysregulation is an established risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), it is unclear whether subtle, subclinical immune system function influences lymphomagenesis in the general population. Dr. Purdue has been conducting investigations of serum immune markers and NHL within prospective cohorts to address this research question. He is also conducting research to better understand serum markers associated with risk of multiple myeloma (MM), a highly lethal B-cell malignancy, including investigations into markers predictive of future progression to MM from its asymptomatic precursor, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.


Dr. Purdue received a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Toronto, Canada. He joined DCEG in 2004 as a postdoctoral fellow within the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, was appointed as a tenure-track investigator in 2009, and was awarded NIH scientific tenure in 2017. He has received several awards for his research in molecular epidemiology, including DCEG and NIH Fellowship Achievement awards, the DCEG Intramural Research Award, and the NIH Merit Award.

Selected Publications

  1. Purdue MP, Johansson M, Zelenika D, Toro JR, Scelo G, Moore LE, Prokhortchouk E, Wu X, Kiemeney LA, Gaborieau V, Jacobs KB, Chow WH, Zaridze D, Matveev V, Lubinski J, Trubicka J, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N, Lissowska J, Rudnai P, Fabianova E, Bucur A, Bencko V, Foretova L, Janout V, Boffetta P, Colt JS, Davis FG, Schwartz KL, Banks RE, Selby PJ, Harnden P, Berg CD, Hsing AW, Grubb RL 3rd, Boeing H, Vineis P, Clavel-Chapelon F, Palli D, Tumino R, Krogh V, Panico S, Duell EJ, Quirós JR, Sanchez MJ, Navarro C, Ardanaz E, Dorronsoro M, Khaw KT, Allen NE, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Peeters PH, Trichopoulos D, Linseisen J, Ljungberg B, Overvad K, Tjønneland A, Romieu I, Riboli E, Mukeria A, Shangina O, Stevens VL, Thun MJ, Diver WR, Gapstur SM, Pharoah PD, Easton DF, Albanes D, Weinstein SJ, Virtamo J, Vatten L, Hveem K, Njølstad I, Tell GS, Stoltenberg C, Kumar R, Koppova K, Cussenot O, Benhamou S, Oosterwijk E, Vermeulen SH, Aben KK, van der Marel SL, Ye Y, Wood CG, Pu X, Mazur AM, Boulygina ES, Chekanov NN, Foglio M, Lechner D, Gut I, Heath S, Blanche H, Hutchinson A, Thomas G, Wang Z, Yeager M, Fraumeni JF Jr, Skryabin KG, McKay JD, Rothman N, Chanock SJ, Lathrop M, Brennan P. Genome-wide association study of renal cell carcinoma identifies two susceptibility loci on 2p21 and 11q13.3. Nat Genet. 2011;43(1):60-5.
  2. Purdue MP, Lan Q, Kemp TJ, Hildesheim A, Weinstein SJ, Hofmann JN, Virtamo J, Albanes D, Pinto LA, Rothman N. Elevated serum sCD23 and sCD30 up to two decades prior to diagnosis associated with increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Leukemia. 2015;29(6):1429-31.
  3. Purdue MP, Bakke B, Stewart P, De Roos AJ, Schenk M, Lynch CF, Bernstein L, Morton LM, Cerhan JR, Severson RK, Cozen W, Davis S, Rothman N, Hartge P, Colt JS. A case-control study of occupational exposure to trichloroethylene and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(2):232-8.
  4. Liao LM, Friesen MC, Xiang YB, Cai H, Koh DH, Ji BT, Yang G, Li HL, Locke SJ, Rothman N, Zheng W, Gao YT, Shu XO, Purdue MP. Occupational Lead Exposure and Associations with Selected Cancers: The Shanghai Men's and Women's Health Study Cohorts. Environ Health Perspect. 2016;124(1):97-103.
  5. Purdue MP, Moore LE, Merino MJ, Boffetta P, Colt JS, Schwartz KL, Bencko V, Davis FG, Graubard BI, Janout V, Ruterbusch JJ, Beebe-Dimmer J, Cote ML, Shuch B, Mates D, Hofmann JN, Foretova L, Rothman N, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N, Matveev V, Wacholder S, Zaridze D, Linehan WM, Brennan P, Chow WH. An investigation of risk factors for renal cell carcinoma by histologic subtype in two case-control studies. Int J Cancer. 2013;132(11):2640-7.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, January 25, 2022