Recombinant antibody fragments offer potential advantages over intact monoclonal antibodies in the radioimmunoscintigraphy (RIS) of solid tumors. Due to their smaller molecular size, antibody fragments have shown rapid tumor targeting and blood clearance, a more uniform tumor distribution and a lower potential to elicit a human immune response. Previously, we have expressed two genetically engineered antibody fragments, the T84.66 diabody (scFv dimer) and the T84.66 minibody (scFv-CH3 dimer), specific to carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). When radioiodinated, both antibody fragments exhibited rapid tumor targeting and rapid blood clearance in xenografted mice. To extend and optimize their future clinical RIS utility with radiometals, these antibody fragments were conjugated with the macrocycle 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane N,N',N' ',N' "-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) and labeled with 111In. Tumor targeting and biodistribution studies were carried out in athymic mice xenografted with a human colorectal tumor cell line, LS174T. The [111In]T84.66 diabody (55 kDa) exhibited very rapid tumor targeting with 12.5 +/- 0.4% injected dose per gram (% ID g(-1) +/- standard error) at 2 h and reached a maximum of 13.3 +/- 0.9% ID g(-1) at 6 h. However, kidney uptake was observed to reached a peak of 183.5 +/- 21.0% ID g(-1) at 6 h, a result similar to that reported by others for other low molecular weight fragments labeled with radiometals. Preadministration of an oral dose of D-lysine resulted in a 59% lowering of the renal accumulation at 6 h, but was accompanied by a 31% reduction of tumor uptake to 9.2 +/- 1.2% ID g(-1). The second recombinant antibody fragment, the [111In]T84.66 minibody (80 kDa), displayed rapid tumor targeting of 14.2 +/- 6.1% ID g(-1) at 2 h, and reached a maximum activity of 24.5 +/- 6.1% ID g(-1) by 12 h. Renal uptake achieved a plateau of 12-13% ID g(-1) which cleared to 7.2% ID g(-1) at 72 h. However, hepatic uptake was elevated and reached a maximum of 26.0 +/- 1.0% ID g(-1) at 12 h in these xenograft-bearing mice. Experiments in nontumor bearing mice showed a reduction of hepatic activity at 12 h to 16.6 +/- 1.5% ID g(-1), indicative of an intrinsic hepatic accumulation of the [111In]DOTA-T84.66 minibody or metabolites. While the anti-CEA [111In]DOTA-T84.66 diabody and T84.66 minibody retain the rapid tumor targeting properties of the radioiodinated form, the normal organ accumulation (kidneys and liver, respectively) of the [111In]DOTA forms appeared problematic for RIS and RIT applications. Development of alternative blocking strategies or new metabolizable chelates are under investigation to enhance the utility of the radiometal form of these and other promising recombinant antibody fragments.