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Acid Phosphatase 

  • Author: Anas K Gremida, MD; Chief Editor: Thomas M Wheeler, MD  more...
Updated: Mar 19, 2014

Reference Range

The reference value for acid phosphatase is 2 ng/mL or less.



Conditions associated with elevations in prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) include the following:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Prostatic infarction
  • Manipulation of the prostate through a massage or rectal examination

Collection and Panels

Specifics for collection and panels are as follows:

  • Specimen type: Blood serum
  • Container: Vacutainer, red/black top (preferred) or red top (see image below)
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  • Collection method: Venipuncture
  • Specimen volume: 1 mL
  • Other instructions:

Related tests: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)




Acid phosphatases are enzymes that are capable of hydrolyzing phosphate esters in an acidic environment. Prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), which is produced in the prostate, was the first major serum marker for prostate cancer, and was used widely for screening, staging, and post-treatment monitoring. Its use has largely been displaced by PSA.[1, 2, 3]


Indications for testing of PAP include the following:

  • Additional prognostic information for predicting recurrence after radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer
  • Additional monitoring of therapeutic response in prostate cancer treated by androgen ablation
  • Can also be used medicolegally as presumptive test to indicate the presence of semen in cases of sexual abuse
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Anas K Gremida, MD Resident Physician, Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Program, St Louis University School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Thomas M Wheeler, MD Chairman, Department of Pathology and Immunology, WL Moody, Jr, Professor of Pathology, Professor of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine

Thomas M Wheeler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Association for Cancer Research, American Medical Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Society of Cytopathology, American Thyroid Association, American Urological Association, College of American Pathologists, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, International Society of Urological Pathology, Harris County Medical Society

Disclosure: Received stock from PathXL for medical advisory board. for: PathXL, Inc.


Judy Lin, MD

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

  1. Burris CA, Ashwood ER, Burns DE. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 4th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders; 2006.

  2. McPherson RA, Matthew R. Pincus MR. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2011.

  3. Wallach J. Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests. 6th ed. New York: Little, Brown; 1996.

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