Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a highly heterogeneous disease, for which prognosis has been relegated to clinicopathologic staging for decades. There is a need to stratify subpopulations of CRC on a molecular basis to better predict outcome and assign therapies. Here we report targeted exome-sequencing of 1,321 cancer-related genes on 468 tumour specimens, which identified a subset of 17 genes that best classify CRC, with APC playing a central role in predicting overall survival. APC may assume 0, 1 or 2 truncating mutations, each with a striking differential impact on survival. Tumours lacking any APC mutation carry a worse prognosis than single APC mutation tumours; however, two APC mutation tumours with mutant KRAS and TP53 confer the poorest survival among all the subgroups examined. Our study demonstrates a prognostic role for APC and suggests that sequencing of APC may have clinical utility in the routine staging and potential therapeutic assignment for CRC.