Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase Test

What is Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase Test?

Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase Test is a comprehensive medical test which aims at measuring the level of acid phosphatase present in the blood.

Acid phosphatase is a typical enzyme found in the prostate gland, liver, spleen, blood cells, semen, and bone marrow. These organs when malfunctioning are likely to release acid phosphatase into the bloodstream.

This test is also known as Type 5b acid phosphatase test.

Purpose of theTest

Your physician may suggest you to go for the test if you exhibit signs of hairy cell leukemia, the blood cancer which is signified by an abnormal rise in the level of Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase.

The test is performed on either the bone marrow or blood cells for the diagnosis of leukemia or on blood plasma for the diagnosis of bone breakdown caused by ailments like cancer.

Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase Test has been also designed to diagnose and determine the stages of multiple myeloma, and breast, lung, or prostate cancers, and even the effects the treatments have caused. This test also detects the damage to the heart, liver, and other organs.

How is the Test Conducted?

The sample of blood is taken from the vein (generally from the inner side of the elbow or the back of the arm). For the purpose, the skin of that part is cleaned totally with an antiseptic. A tourniquet is wrapped over the vein so that the vein swells up with blood with the pressure. After that a small needle is injected into the vein and the blood is collected in an airtight vial and sent to the laboratory for further analysis.

Some people may feel a stinging pain caused by the needle prick during the test. It may be a bit uncomfortable, but the test is not at all painful.

A cotton ball with some antiseptic is held over the needle site until the bleeding subsides.

Please note that this test is like a regular blood test. No special preparation is required before or after the test.

Results of the Test

0 to 0.8 U/L (units per liter) or the level less than 5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase is what is regarded as normal.

If your Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase level in the blood plasma is higher than that, it suggests a diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia. It may also be a sign of bone breakdown mainly because of the spread of cancer to the bones, though there may be multiple reasons for that.

An abnormal level of Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase can mean the following:

 Prostate cancer that has spread to the bones as well

  • Paget disease which indicates that the bones have become thick and soft
  • Anemia
  • Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland)
  • Thrombophlebitis (inflammation and blood clots in veins)
  • Gaucher disease ( a disease of lipid metabolism disorder)
  • Hyperparathyroidism (increased activity of the parathyroid gland)
  • End-stage kidney diseases
  • Multiple myeloma (malignancy in the plasma cells of the bone marrow)


There is no major risk associated with the Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase Test. But there are rare chances of:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma

Infection due to the breaking of the skin.