Colin Purdie

+44 (0)1382 632548
Consultant Pathologist, NHS Tayside & Honorary Reader, University of Dundee


Colin Purdie studied Medicine at the University of Edinburgh between 1980 and 1986. He studied for an intercalated degree and graduated with a first class honours in Pharmacology (BSc) and a primary medical degree (MBChB). Following his house jobs in clinical medicine and surgery he worked for 2 years in internal medicine before being awarded the prestigious Leckie-Mactier Fellowship by the University of Edinburgh. He embarked on a highly successful 3 year PhD which was awarded in 1994 and resulted in several publications including one in the journal Nature (Clarke, A.R et al. (1993) Nature 362: 849-851).

He went on to train in cellular pathology in Glasgow and Edinburgh between 1992 and 1997 including periods as a Clinical Lecturer in both the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. He obtained the MRCPath by examination and was appointed as a Consultant Histopathologist in NHS Tayside in 1997. He was also appointed as an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the University of Dundee in 1997 and promoted to Honorary Reader in 2011. Since 2000 he has been a full-time specialist breast pathologist and Lead Clinician for Breast Pathology in Tayside.

His research interests are the molecular genetics of breast cancer and the relationship between the pathological features in the breast seen at a cellular level and those derived from radiological imaging (ultrasound, shear wave elastography, X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging). He is involved in collaborative research with numerous national and international groups in these fields.


International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC)

Member of Breast Pathology Working Group 2011 – Current

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)

Member of research project review group 2016 - Current

Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank

Member of Tissue Access Committee 2011 – 2015

Egyptian Society of Pathology

Invited Lecturer 2014

Breast Cancer Research

Editorial Board member 2015 - Current


UK Breast Screening Programme

Member of Pathology committee 2017 - Current

Scottish Breast Screening Programme

Chair of Pathology QA committee 2017 - Current

Member of Pathology QA committee 2006 - 2017

Royal College of Pathologists

Member of Specialty Advisory Committee on Histopathology 2005 – 2009

Association of Clinical Pathologists

Secretary & Treasurer Caledonian Branch 1999 – 2004

Member of Histopathology Committee 2001 – 2005

Chair of Histopathology Committee 2005 – 2009

Member of ACP National Council 2005 – 2009

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Consultant to NICE on proposed single technology proposal 2010 – Current

(Royal College of Pathologists, Breast Cancer Now)

National Cancer Research Institute

Member of NCRI Breast Clinical Studies Group 2009 – Current

(translational subgroup)

British Breast Group

Elected member 2009 – Current

Scottish Cancer Trials Breast Group

Invited member 2009 – Current

Peer reviewer for scientific journals

Histopathology, Cancer, The Breast, Journal of Pathology, Journal of Clinical Pathology, British Journal of Cancer, European Journal of Cancer, Oncogene, British Journal of Surgery, Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, Pathology - Research and Practice and Breast Cancer Research.

Peer reviewer for Grant Awarding Bodies

Breast Cancer Now 2015 - Current

NHS Breast Screening Programme

Member NHS BSP Education Committee 2004 – Current

Pathology Update Course (annual) – Invited lecturer 2005 – 2017

National Cancer Quality Steering Group

Member Breast Cancer QPI Development Group 2010 - Current

Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank

Grant holder 2009 – 2015

Member of Operations Group 2009 – 2011

Member of Tissue Access Committee 2011 – 2015

OPTIMA clinical trial (National Institute for Health Research)

Member of Trial Steering Committee 2012 – Current

ROSCO clinical trial (National Cancer Research Network)

Member of Trial Steering Committee 2014 - Current



Colin Purdie is a full-time consultant pathologist with NHS Tayside. All research is carried out in addition to his clinical commitments.

  • In 2011 he was invited to join the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) as a member of Breast Pathology Working Group. This group is composed of the world’s top Breast Pathologists from Europe, North America and Australasia. Only 1 other Pathologist is from the UK.
  • The ICGC has carried out whole genome sequencing on a large number of breast cancers and the data analysis and publication is ongoing (his contributions are published in: Nature 543: 714-718 (2017), Nature Genetics 49 (3), 341-348 (2017), Nature Communications 7: 12910 (2016), Nature 534: 47-54 (2106), Genome Res 25: 814-824 (2015)).
  • His research career started in 1988 when he was awarded the Leckie-Mactier Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh.
  • His PhD was entitled “The Role of p53 in colorectal carcinogenesis”.
  • His supervisor was Prof Andrew H Wyllie, FRS.
  • His examiners were Prof, Sir David Lane , FRS and Prof, Sir David Carter, FRSE.
  • As part of his PhD he created a p53 gene knock-out mouse which provided the first demonstration of the link between p53 and apoptosis (programmed cell death). This seminal work was published and has been cited more than 2600 times in the world scientific literature (Nature 362: 849-52(1993)).
  • His published scientific works have been cited more than 7000 times with 3000 of those in the last 5 years.
  • He has been awarded grants totalling more than £9 million.

Lectures and conferences

His research has been presented nationally and internationally at numerous scientific meetings including:

  • The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS)
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
  • National Cancer Research Institue (NCRI)
  • European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC)
  • IMPAKT Breast Cancer Conference
  • Pathological Society of Great Britain & Ireland



He was invited to lecture to the Egyptian Society of Pathology in Cairo in 2014 on various subjects of breast cancer diagnostic pathology.


He is an invited lecturer on numerous national breast pathology training courses. These courses are for Consultant Pathologists improving their clinical diagnostic skills in breast pathology. They are taught by an invited group of the UK’s top Breast Pathologists.

  • NHS Breast Screening Programme Pathology update course.
  • Nottingham Breast Pathology Masterclass.
  • British Division of the International Academy of Pathology (BDIAP) breast pathology symposium.
  • Hammersmith Breast Pathology Course.


For the last 20 years he has taught the Pathology of Breast Disease to University of Dundee medical undergraduates as part of the Reproductive Medicine block in 3rd year

  • This involves a seminar and 3 lectures.
  • One of the lectures is a mock multidisciplinary team (MDT) discussion of patient management in breast disease. This brings together all aspects of the teaching block encouraging the students to integrate all of their learning in that block. This has been devised by him and is a very popular part of the course.

Every year he teaches on the Pathology Student Selected Component (SSC) in his specialist area of Breast Pathology.


Ju YS, Martincorena I, M Gerstung, Petljak M, Alexandrov LB, RahbariR, Wedge DC, Davies HR, Ramakrishna M, Fullam A, Martin S, Alder C, Patel N, Gamble S, O’Meara S, Giri DD, Sauer T, Pinder SE, Purdie CA, Borg Å, Stunnenberg H, van de Vijver M, Tan BKT, Caldas C, Tutt A, Ueno NT, van’t Veer LJ, Martens JWM, Sotiriou C, Knappskog S, Span PN, Lakhani SR, Eyfjörd JE, Børresen-Dale A-L, Richardson A, Thompson AM, Viari A, Hurles ME, Nik-Zainal S, Campbell PJ and Stratton MR. Somatic mutations reveal asymmetric cellular dynamics in the early human embryo. (2017) Nature 543: 714-718.

Glodzik D, Morganella S, Davies H, Simpson PT, Li Y, Zou X, Diez-Perez J, Staaf J, Alexandrov LBSmid M, Brinkman AB, Rye IH, Russnes H, Raine K, Purdie CA, Lakhani SR, Thompson AM, Birney E, Stunnenberg, HG, van de Vijver MJ, Martens JWM, Børresen-Dale A-L, Richardson AL, Kong G, Viari A, Easton D, Evan G, Campbell PJ, Stratton MR and Nik-Zainal S. A somatic mutational process recurrently duplicates germline susceptibility loci and tissue-specific super-enhancers in breast cancers. (2017) Nature Genetics 49 (3), 341-348.

Smid M, Rodríguez-González FG, Sieuwerts A, Prager-Van der Smissen W, van der Vlugt-Daane M, van Galen A, Debets R, Meijer-Van Gelder M, van Deurzen C, Foekens J, Martens J, Nik-Zainal S, Butler A, Martin S, Davies H, Stratton M, Staaf J, Ringnér M, Brinkman A, Berentsen K, Stunnenberg H, van de Vijver M, Broeks A, Richardson A, Fatima A, Purdie C, Thompson A, Caldas C, Span P, Simpson P, Lakhani S, Van Laere S, Desmedt C, Tommasi S, Eyfjord J, Vincent-Salomon A, Futreal P, knappskog S, King T, Thomas G, Viari A, Langerod A, Børresen-Dale A-L, Birney E, Salgado R, van den Eynden G, and MacGrogan G. Integration of the breast cancer genome and transcriptome associates specific mutational signatures with immune response. (2016) Nature Communications 7: 12910.

Davies H, Morganella S, Purdie C, Jang SJ, Borgen E, Russnes H, Glodzik D, Zou X, Viari A, Richardson A, Borresen-Dale A-L, Thompson A, Eyfjörd J, Kong G, Stratton M, and Nik-Zainal S. Whole-genome sequencing reveals breast cancers with mismatch repair deficiency. (2017) Cancer Res 77: 4755–62.

Moss RM, Amin AS, Crews C, Purdie CA, Jordan LB, Iacoviello F, Evans A, Speller RD, Vinnicombe SJ. Correlation of X-ray diffraction signatures of breast tissue and their histopathological classification. (2017) Scientific Reports 7: 12998.

Evans A, Whelehan P, Thompson A, Purdie C, Jordan L, Macaskill J, Waugh S, Fuller-Pace F, Brauer K, Vinnicombe S. Prediction of Pathological Complete Response to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Primary Breast Cancer Comparing Interim Ultrasound, Shear Wave Elastography and MRI. (2017) Eur J Ultrasound doi: 10.1055/s-0043-111589.

Henderson S, Purdie C, Michie C, Evans A, Lerski R, Johnston M, Vinnicombe S, Thompson AM. Interim heterogeneity changes measured using entropy texture features on T2-weighted MRI at 3.0 T are associated with pathological response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in primary breast cancer. (2017) Eur Radiol 27: 4602-4611.

Hadad SM, Jordan LB, Roy PG, Purdie CA, Iwamoto T, Pusztai L, Moulder-Thompson SL and Thompson AM. A prospective comparison of ER, PR, Ki67 and gene expression in paired sequential core biopsies of primary, untreated breast cancer. (2016) BMC Cancer 16: 745.

Gadea G, Arsic N, Fernandes K, Diot A, Joruiz SM, Abdallah S, Meuray V, Vinot S, Anguille C, Remenyi J, Khoury MP, Quinlan PR, Purdie CA, Jordan LB, Fuller-Pace FV, de Toledo M, Cren M, Thompson Al, Bourdon JC, Roux P. TP53 drives invasion through expression of its ?133p53? variant. (2016) eLife 5, e14734.

Nik-Zainal S, Davies H, Staaf J, Ramakrishna M, Glodzik D, Zou X, Martincorena I, Alexandrov LB, Martin S, Wedge DC, Van Loo P, Seok Ju Y, Smid M, Brinkman AB, Morganella S, Aure MR, Lingjærde OC, Langerød A, Ringnér M, Ahn S-M, Boyault S, Brock JE, Broeks A, Butler A, Desmedt C, Dirix L, Dronov S, Fatima A, Foekens JA, Gerstung M, Hooijer GKJ, Jang SJ, Jones DR, Kim H-Y, King TA, Krishnamurthy S, Lee HJ, Lee J-Y, Li Y, McLaren S, Menzies A, Mustonen V, O'Meara S, Pauporté I, Pivot X, Purdie CA, Raine K, Ramakrishnan K, Rodríguez-González FG, Romieu G, Sieuwerts AM, Simpson PT, Shepherd R, Stebbings L, Stefansson OA, Teague J, Tommasi S, Treilleux I, Van den Eynden GG, Vermeulen P, Vincent-Salomon A, Yates L, Caldas C, van’t Veer L, Tutt A, Knappskog S, Tee Tan BK, Jonkers J, Borg Å, Ueno NT, Sotiriou C, Viari A, Futreal PA, Campbell PJ, Span PN, Van Laere S, Lakhani SR, Eyfjord JE, Thompson AM, Birney E, Stunnenberg HG, van de Vijver MJ, Martens JWM, Børresen-Dale A-L, Richardson AL, Kong G, Thomas G and Stratton MR. The somatic genetics of breast cancer revealed by 560 whole genome sequences. (2016) Nature 534: 47-54.

Evans A, Purdie CA, Jordan L, Macaskill EJ, Flynn J, Vinnicombe S.Stiffness at shear-wave elastography and patient presentation predicts upgrade at surgery following an ultrasound-guided core biopsy diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ. (2016) Clinical Radiology 71: 1156-1159.

Giannotti E, Vinnicombe S, Thomson K, McLean D, Purdie C, Jordan L, Evans A. Shear wave elastography and grey scale assessment of palpable probably benign masses: is biopsy always required? (2016) Br J Radiol 89: 20150865.

Evans A, Sim YT, Thomson K, Jordan L, Purdie C, Vinnicombe SJ. Shear wave elastography of breast cancer: Sensitivity according to histological type in a large cohort. (2016) The Breast 26: 115 – 118.

Waugh SA, Purdie CA, Jordan LB, Vinnicombe S, Lerski RA, Martin P, Thompson AM. Magnetic resonance imaging texture analysis classification of primary breast cancer. (2016) European Radiology 26: 322–330.

Ju YS, Tubio JMC, MifsudW, Fu B, Davies HR, Ramakrishna M, Li Y, Yates L, Gundem G, Tarpey PS, Behjati S, Papaemmanuil E, Martin S, Fullam A, Gerstung M, Nangalia J, Green AR, Caldas C, Borg Å, Tutt A, Lee MTM, van't Veer LJ, Tan BKT, Aparicio S, Span PN, Martens JWM, Knappskog S, Vincent-Salomon A, Børresen-Dale A-L, Eyfjörd JE, Flanagan AM, Foster C, Neal DE, Cooper C, Eeles R, Lakhani SR, Desmedt C, Thomas G, Richardson AL, Purdie CA, Thompson AM, McDermott U, Yang F, Nik-Zainal S, Campbell PJ, Stratton MR, ICGC Prostate Cancer Working Group, ICGC Bone Cancer Working Group, ICGC Breast Cancer Working Group. Frequent somatic transfer of mitochondrial DNA into the nuclear genome of human cancer cells. (2015) Genome Res 25: 814-824.

Quinlan PR, Groves M, Jordan LB, Stobart H, Purdie CA, Thompson AM. The informatics challenges facing biobanks: A perspective from a United Kingdom biobanking network. (2015) Biopreserv Biobank 13: 363-370.

Akbar S, Jordan LB, Purdie CA, Thompson AM, McKenna SJ. Comparing computer-generated and pathologist-generated tumour segmentations for immunohistochemical scoring of breast tissue microarrays. (2015) Br J Cancer 113: 1075-1080.