Biochemistry Test

Acid phosphatase

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Mar 27, 2014
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Test : Acid phosphatase

Indications : An acid phosphate test is mostly advised to evaluate the spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the body, in which cases the levels are elevated.. This is particularly true in cases where the malignancy has spread to the bones. Removing the tumor automatically brings down the levels of the enzyme.

However, it must be noted that this test will not help you to identify your risk for prostate cancer before the condition develops.

Increased level of acid phosphatase is also seen in cases of hyperthyroidism, Gaucher’s disease and some blood cell diseases. The test may also be ordered to analyze dysfunction in the heart, liver or other organs.

Acid phosphatase test is also ordered during rape investigations as the levels of the enzyme are very high in the semen.

To carry out the test, a blood sample will be drawn intravenously from the candidate. The patient must refrain from going through a rectal massage or rectal exam 2-3 days before the actual test.

Physiology : Acid phosphatases (APs) are a family of enzymes that are present in both the animal and the plant species.

Despite their ubiquitous presence, the role of acid phosphatase is not clearly understood. However, research has given some indications that, in humans, these enzymes can be used as tools for clinical diagnosis.

Acid phosphatase is primarily found in the prostate gland. It is also present in the spleen, liver, blood cells, and bone marrow. If any of these organs or tissues are not functioning in the proper manner, they tend to release acid phosphatase into the bloodstream.

Normal Range : 0 to 0.8 units per liter

Interpretation : Normal levels of acid phosphatase in the human blood are between 0 to 0.8 units per liter. Increased levels of the enzyme can indicate any of the following –

Prostate cancer that has metastasized, especially to the bones
Kidney disease
Paget’s disease –a condition that makes bones thick and soft
Anemia-low red blood cell count
Prostatitis –inflammation of prostate
Thrombophlebitis –Inflammation and small blood clots in a vein, mostly in the leg
Gaucher disease – A condition that occurs due to impaired lipid metabolism
Hyperparathyroidism-A condition caused by increased activity of the parathyroid gland
Multiple myeloma – Malignancy affecting the plasma cells of the bone marrow.

More Information

Acid phosphate value above the normal level in blood indicates a decreased blood flow to the prostate. This state can not only be brought on by malignancies and other conditions but it can also be caused by stimulation of the prostate gland through prostate examinations, colonoscopy, or enemas.

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