Ten patients with colorectal cancer metastases received 125I-B72.3 and 131I-CC49 prior to laparotomy (five patients received 1 mg, and five 20 mg of each mAb). Tumor:serum ratios of 131I-CC49 were better than those of 125I-B72.3 (P < 0.01 at 1 mg; P = 0.05 at 20 mg; P < 0.01 at both doses). All known lesions > or = 1 cm in diameter were visualized at the 20 mg dose. There was no difference in absolute tumor uptake of 125I-B72.3 or 131I-CC49. We conclude that mAb CC49 has better relative uptake in colorectal cancers than mAb B72.3.