Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and some patients develop recurrence after standard therapy. Effective predictors are urgently needed to detect recurrence earlier. The activation of Hedgehog signaling in breast cancer is correlated with poor prognosis. PTCH1 is an essential membrane receptor of Hedgehog. However, there are few reports about mutations in Hedgehog genes in breast cancer. We conducted a comprehensive study via an experimental and bioinformatics approach to detect mutated genes in breast cancer. Twenty-two breast cancer patients who developed recurrence within 24 months postoperatively were enrolled with 22 control cancer patients. Targeted deep sequencing was performed to assess the mutations among individuals with breast cancer using a panel of 143 cancer-associated genes. Bioinformatics and public databases were used to predict the protein functions of the mutated genes. Mutations were identified in 44 breast cancer specimens, and the most frequently mutated genes were BRCA2, APC, ATM, BRCA1, NF1, TET2, TSC1, TSC2, NOTCH1, MSH2, PTCH1, TP53, PIK3CA, FBXW7, and RB1. Mutation of these genes was correlated with protein phosphorylation and autophosphorylation, such as peptidyl-tyrosine and protein kinase C phosphorylation. Among these highly mutated genes, mutations of PTCH1 were associated with poor prognosis and increased recurrence of breast cancer, especially mutations in exons 22 and 23. The public sequencing data from the COSMIC database were exploited to predict the functions of the mutations. Our findings suggest that mutation of PTCH1 is correlated with early recurrence of breast cancer patients and will become a powerful predictor for recurrence of breast cancer.
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