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Mark Purdue, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

NCI Shady Grove | Room 6E140



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.

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 evaluating the potential carcinogenicity of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and chlorinated solvents, and investigating the etiology of kidney cancer.


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of environmentally persistent chemicals used in many commercial products that have emerged as widespread water contaminants and possible human carcinogens. Dr. Purdue is leading several projects investigating serum PFAS concentrations and risks of selected cancers, including studies of testicular cancer among active-duty military servicemen using samples from the Department of Defense Serum Repository, as well as investigations of other cancer sites (kidney, prostate, breast, thyroid, non-Hodgkin lymphoma) within prospective cohorts.

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 human carcinogen (Group 1) 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 has 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.

Selected Publications

Purdue MP, et al. Genome-wide association study of renal cell carcinoma identifies two susceptibility loci on 2p21 and 11q13.3. Nat Genet 2011.

Rhee J, Barry KH, Huang WY...Purdue MP, Berndt SI. A prospective nested case-control study of serum concentrations or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and aggressive prostate cancer risk. Environ Res 2023.

Purdue MP, et al.  A case-control study of occupational exposure to trichloroethylene and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Environ Health Perspect 2011.

Callahan CL...Purdue MP. Extended mortality follow-up of a cohort of dry cleaners. Epidemiology 2019. 

Callahan CL...Purdue MP. Differences in tumor VHL mutation and hypoxia-inducible factor 2 expression between African American and White patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Eur Urol 2019.


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