A new radioiodinating agent, N-(p-[125I]iodophenyl)maleimide, has been synthesized for its potential utility in the radioiodination of monoclonal antibodies and other proteins. The efficiency of incorporation of 125I in the B72.3 antibody by iodine monochloride iodination or by maleimide conjugation was 19% and 43%, respectively. The thyroid uptake following intraperitoneal administration of the two 125I-labeled antibody preparations was evaluated in nude mice implanted with LS174T colon carcinoma xenografts. The iodine monochloride preparation showed substantially greater uptake in the thyroid with values of 2.1% ID at 6 h after injection and reaching a maximum of 4.3% ID after 6 days. In contrast, the maleimide preparation showed a uniformly low uptake in thyroid of 0.1%-0.2% ID. The results of these preliminary studies demonstrate that the N-(p-[125I]iodophenyl)maleimide-labeled monoclonal antibodies showed markedly less (<10-fold) uptake of radioiodine in the thyroid, indicating significantly less in vivo deiodination than iodine monochloride-labeled monoclonal antibodies, while retaining some tumor localization in vivo. Studies are in progress to optimize N-(p-[125I]iodophenyl)maleimide radioiodination conditions and to improve the tumor localization.