What is the QSkin study?

QSkin is the largest research study ever conducted on skin cancer. Over 45,000 Australians are participating in the study. Importantly, the QSkin study will provide long-term information about the burden of skin cancer in Australia. The study continues to provide valuable information on all the different ways in which skin cancers are treated in Australia. By comparing the information from people with and without skin cancer, we will also gain a better understanding of how skin cancers develop.

While we know many risk factors for basal cell (BCC) and squamous cell (SCC) skin cancers (collectively called keratinocyte skin cancers), it’s not always clear exactly how these factors cause cancer. Knowing about this is important not only for better understanding of the biology of how these cancers develop, but also could lead to new therapies.

To find out more about the genes that cause skin cancer, we collected saliva samples from QSkin participants and we are conducting genome wide association studies (GWAS) on samples from people who have been diagnosed with keratinocyte skin cancer and people with no history of skin cancer.


Why is the study important?

Skin cancers place a very large burden on the Australian population. An opportunity exists now to discover new knowledge about the genetic causes of skin cancers. These efforts are necessary to understand the biology of these cancers, thereby offering new insights into the best ways to prevent and these cancers.


Who is conducting the study and who funds it?

The study is being conducted by doctors and scientists from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, led by Professor David Whiteman and Dr Catherine Olsen. The study is funded by research grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council.


QSkin Genetics Lead Investigator Professor David Whiteman explains more about the study and how you can help.

Find out why Adam has volunteered for the QSkin Genetics study. 

Cathy shares how melanoma has touched her family and why she’s taking part in the QSkin Genetics study.



Source: 7 News Air Date: 17 September 2019

Source: 10 News Air Date: 17 September 2019

Source: 9 News Air Date: 21 November 2019


Researchers at QIMR Berghofer have developed online tests to predict the risk of developing melanoma over the next 3.5 years and keratinocyte cancer (common types of skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) over a 3 year period.) Click on the links to the Risk Predictors below.