QSkin Study


Cancers of the skin are exceedingly common in Australia. They include basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. Unfortunately, more than 2000 Australians die from skin cancer every year, and hundreds of thousands more undergo surgery to treat these cancers. QSkin is the largest study of skin cancer ever conducted. The QSkin study will provide long-term information about the burden of skin cancer in Queensland.

By comparing the information from people with and without skin cancer, we will gain a better understanding of how skin cancers develop. In addition, the information collected in QSkin will be used to study other common health conditions.

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.


Description of the Study

Australians have the highest rates of melanoma and skin cancer in the world. Information from QSkin Genetics will give us a better understanding of the factors that influence melanoma and other cancers of the skin. Importantly, the study will focus strongly on understanding how genes influence a person’s risk of disease.

With the information gathered from QSkin Genetics, we will develop tools that doctors and patients can use to predict a person’s future risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers. With such tools, doctors may be able to identify people at high risk of developing skin cancer, who can be offered regular skin checks. Similar tools have been developed for heart diseases and related conditions, and have proven to be highly effective in helping doctors and patients to manage the risks of disease.

QIMR-HREC approval reference: P3434

Recruitment status: CLOSED



Coordinating Principal Investigators: Professor David Whiteman & Associate Professor Catherine Olsen

Contact details:

T: 1800 222 600


A: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Locked Bag 2000, Royal Brisbane Hospital,

Herston, QLD, 4029, AUSTRALIA