Monoclonal antibody (MAb) B72.3 was generated using a membrane-enriched fraction of a human mammary carcinoma biopsy. It has demonstrated reactivity to the majority of human adenocarcinomas including colorectal, gastric, pancreatic, ovarian, endometrial, mammary, and nonsmall cell lung cancer as well as weak or nondetectable reactivity to the majority of normal adult tissues, with the exception of secretory endometrium. Radiolabeled B72.3 has demonstrated MAb localization of carcinoma in approximately 70% of several hundred colorectal and ovarian carcinoma patients. The B72.3-reactive antigen, tumor-associated glycoprotein 72, has been purified from a human colon cancer xenograft and used as an immunogen to generate second generation MAbs. Twenty-eight of these MAbs, designated CC (colon cancer), were shown to be reactive with tumor-associated glycoprotein 72; direct-binding radioimmunoassays, Western blotting, live cell surface binding assays, liquid competition radioimmunoassays, and affinity constant measurments distinguished CC MAbs from each other and from B72.3. Two of these MAbs, CC49 and CC112, were selected for further immunohistochemical characterization. These MAbs were tested here against a spectrum of normal, benign, and malignant human adult tissues using the avidinbiotin-peroxidase technique, and their reactivity was compared with B72.3. Both CC MAbs were more reactive than B72.3 against a range of tumors. Extensive testing with MAbs CC49 and B72.3 using serial tissue sections demonstrated that both MAbs reacted similarly to most normal adult tissues with MAb CC49 reacting stronger to inflammatory colonic tissue. In 35 of 48 (72%) carcinoma biopsies of the gastrointestinal tract, ovary, breast, and lung in which one of the MAbs reacted to at least 20% of the cells, CC49 reacted to a greater percentage of carcinoma cells and/or tumor-associated mucin than B72.3. The reciprocal was observed in only 2% of the carcinomas. This study thus provides evidence that these second generation anti-tumor-associated glycoprotein MAbs may be more efficient than B72.3 in the further study of human carcinoma cell populations and in the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures presently being pursued with MAb B72.3.