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Mark Purdue Ph.D.


Mark Purdue Ph.D.

Mark Purdue Ph.D.

Organization:National Cancer Institute
Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch
Address:9609 Medical Center Drive
Room 6E604


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

Research Interests

Dr. 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 investigating the etiology of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and kidney cancer, and evaluating the potential carcinogenicity of trichloroethylene and other chlorinated solvents. Dr. Purdue also serves as the co-principal investigator for DCEG research within the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, overseeing the use of PLCO biospecimens in DCEG projects.

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. Dr. Purdue is also conducting research to better understand the etiology of multiple myeloma (MM), 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. In addition, Dr. Purdue is conducting molecular investigations with the PLCO to identify underlying biologic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of RCC.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

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 case-control 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 planning to investigate whether exposure to tetrachloroethylene and other chlorinated solvents is associated with cancer risk.

Information for Journalists

To request an interview with a DCEG investigator, contact the NCI Office of Media Relations:


Phone: 301-496-6641

Spotlight on Investigator

Read Mark Purdue's profile in the July 2011 Linkage newsletter.