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 to improve exposure assessment. He is particularly interested in investigating the etiology of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and kidney cancer, and evaluating the potential carcinogenicity of trichloroethylene and other chlorinated solvents.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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 several molecular epidemiologic investigations to address this research question. He is also conducting research to better understand the etiology of multiple myeloma, a highly lethal B-cell malignancy.

Kidney Cancer

Dr. Purdue co-led the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). He and his collaborators identified EPAS1, encoding hypoxia inducible factor 2-alpha, and a nongenic region on 11q13.3 to be associated with RCC. He is extending his investigations of RCC genetics in several ways, including further fine-mapping of identified gene regions, expanding the size of the GWAS, and planning investigations of gene-environment interaction with established RCC risk factors such as body mass index, hypertension, and smoking. Dr. Purdue is also conducting other investigations within case-control and cohort studies to evaluate associations with occupational lead exposure and other suspected risk factors for RCC.


Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a chlorinated solvent mainly used as a degreasing agent to clean metal parts. IARC has classified TCE as a probable carcinogen (Group 2A), although the evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is limited. To better understand whether TCE is a human carcinogen, Dr. Purdue is leading epidemiologic investigations of workplace exposure to TCE and risk of NHL and RCC, two of the malignancies most convincingly associated with exposure to this chemical. He is also investigating whether exposure to tetrachloroethylene and other chlorinated solvents is associated with cancer risk overall.


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, and was appointed to the position of tenure-track investigator in 2009. He was awarded NIH scientific tenure and promoted to senior investigator in 2017. He has received several awards for his research in molecular epidemiology, including DCEG and NIH Fellowship Achievement awards and a DCEG Intramural Research 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.

This page was last updated on December 18th, 2017