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Acid phosphatase is an enzyme found throughout the body, but primarily in the prostate gland. Like all enzymes, it is needed to trigger specific chemical reactions. Acid phosphatase testing is done to diagnose whether prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized), and to check the effectiveness of treatment. The test has been largely supplanted by the prostate specific antigen test (PSA).
Laboratory testing measures the amount of acid phosphatase in a person's blood, and can determine from what tissue the enzyme is coming. For example, it is important to know if the increased acid phosphatase is from the prostate or red blood cells. Acid phosphatase from the prostate, called prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), is the most medically significant type of acid phosphatase.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.