Acid Phosphatase

Acid phosphatase is an enzyme found in many tissues but is highest in the prostate. It is elevated in cancer of the prostate but it is not specific for carcinoma of the prostate. This means that it cannot be used as a screening test for cancer of the prostate but may be helpful in following this illness. It is elevated when cancer of the prostate has spread but may also be elevated with other tumors that have spread to bone.

This test may be elevated with diseases of the prostate or following procedures that manipulate the prostate. This can include bladder catheterization, examination of the prostate by physical exam or recent TUR (transurethral resection of the prostate), prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or with urinary retention. It may also be elevated with BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). This is the enlargement of the prostate that normally occurs with aging and benign means that this is not cancerous. This test is most often normal with cancer of the prostate that has not spread beyond the prostate and is in an early stage of the disease.


No preparation or fasting is required. A blood sample is taken by a needle from a vein.


  • Adults/elderly: 0.13-0.63 units/L (Roy, Bower, Hayden, 37° C) or 2.2-10.5 units/L (SI units)

  • Child: 8.6-12.6 units / (mL 30° C)

  • Newborn: 10.4-16.4 units / mL (30°C)

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.


Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.


It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.