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Tumor Markers

Key Information

Prognostic (what treatment to use if the tumor should recur)

Acid Phosphatase:

Also called: acid phos, acid f, acid p'tase. A test of blood serum to detect a specific enzyme produced by several tissues, particularly the prostate. Acid phosphatase levels are elevated in 85% of cases with skeletal metastases, 60% of untreated cases, and 20% of localized cases. Usually ordered as a separate laboratory test. It may also be ordered as prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), a measure of acid phosphatase secreted by prostate gland cells specifically. Note: test results may be affected by recent prostatic massage or palpation; acid phosphatase level should be assayed before digital rectal examination.

Normal range:
Varies according to method of processing the serum.

  • 1.0 - 4 King Armstrong microns/dl
  • 0.5 - 2 Bodansky or Gutman microns/dl
  • 0 - 1.1 Shinowara microns/ml
  • 0.1 - 0.73 Bessy Lowry microns/nk.
  • 0.5 - 11.0 units/L

Alkaline Phosphatase:

Also called: alk phos, alk f, ALP. May be included in blood chemistry screening panel. A test of blood serum to detect a specific enzyme produced by several tissues, particularly the prostate. Normal range: 20-90 I.U./liter. Normal range may vary somewhat according to the brand of laboratory assay materials used.

Prostate Specific Antigen:

Also called: PSA. Excludes: prostatic acid phosphatase. Tumor marker assay (test) of blood serum for antigen released from cells in prostate tissue. Value may be elevated in benign prostatic hypertrophy. After radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy, rising levels of PSA indicate residual disease or recurrence. Note: test results may be affected by recent prostatic massage or palpation; PSA level should be assayed before digital rectal examination.

Normal range:
0 - 4.0 ng/ml. Normal range also varies depending on the patient's age.

Other Tumor Markers

TPA (Tissue Polypeptide Antigen)

nonspecific to prostate cancer; elevated levels indicate presence of malignancy; also used to monitor bladder and lung cancer in males

DNA Studies

Also called: flow cytometry

Ploidy analysis

Diploid tumors (normal, 2 sets of chromosomes) have a better prognosis than aneuploid or tetraploid tumors abnormal number, sets of chromosomes).

Go to the Tumor Markers page of the Diagnostic Tests module for more information.