The optimal use of radioiodinated internalizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for radioimmunotherapy necessitates the development of practical methods for increasing the level of retention of 131I in the tumor. Lysosomally trapped ("residualizing") iodine radiolabels that have been previously designed are based mostly on carbohydrate-tyramine adducts, but these methods have drawbacks of low overall yields and/or high levels of mAb aggregation. We have developed a method using thiol-reactive diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA)-peptide adducts wherein the peptides are assembled with one or more D-amino acids, including D-tyrosine. Two such substrates, R-Gly-D-Tyr-D-Lys[1-(p-thiocarbonylaminobenzyl)DTPA], referred to as IMP-R1, and [R-D-Ala-D-Tyr-D-Tyr-D-Lys]2(CA-DTPA), referred to as IMP-R2, wherein R is 4-(N-maleimidomethyl)cyclohexane-1-carbonyl, were synthesized by preparing functional group-protected peptides on a solid phase, selectively derivatizing the lysine side chain with 1-(p-isothiocyanatobenzyl)DTPA or DTPA dianhydride (CA-DTPA), deprotecting other functional groups, and finally derivatizing the peptide's N-terminus so it contained a maleimide group. Radioiodinations of the peptides followed by conjugations to disulfide-reduced mAbs, carried out as a one-vial procedure, resulted in 32-89% overall yields, at specific activities of 1.8-11. 1 mCi/mg, with less than 2% aggregation. Two internalizing mAbs, LL2 (anti-CD 22 B-cell lymphoma mAb) and RS7 (an anti-adenocarcinoma mAb which targets EGP-1 antigen), labeled with this procedure exhibited a 2-3-fold better cellular retention in Ramos and Calu-3 tumor cell lines, in vitro, respectively, compared to the same mAbs radioiodinated with the chloramine-T method. The rationale for the new approach, syntheses, radiochemistry and in vitro data are presented.