Acid Phosphatase Test (Encyclopedia of Medicine)
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).
The male prostate gland has 100 times more acid phosphatase than any other body tissue. When prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, acid phosphatase levels rise, particularly if the cancer spreads to the bone. One-half to three-fourths of persons who have metastasized prostate cancer have high acid phosphatase levels. Levels fall after the tumor is removed or reduced through treatment.
Tissues other than prostate have small amounts of acid phosphatase, including bone, liver, spleen, kidney, and red blood cells and platelets. Damage to these tissues causes a moderate increase in acid phosphatase levels.
Acid phosphatase is very concentrated in semen. Rape investigations will often include testing for the presence of acid phosphatase in vaginal fluid.
This is not a screening...
(The entire section is 594 words.)
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