A monoclonal anti-idiotypic antibody (anti-Id MAb) 708 (IgG2b), which inhibited the binding of NCRC23 (IgG1) MAb to CEA and prevented radiolabelled CEA from binding to MAb NCRC23, was produced. No recognition of 3 other anti-CEA antibodies, 3 other IgG1 or 2 IgM MAbs was observed with this anti-idiotypic antibody. When an immunoblotting technique was used, 708 anti-Id MAb failed to bind to isolated heavy or light chains of MAb NCRC23, whereas binding was observed with intact antibody. Mouse, rat and human lymphocytes (in vitro) were immunized with 708 anti-Id MAb and the resultant Ab3 antibodies all inhibited binding of labelled 708 anti-Id MAb to MAb NCRC23 and also reacted with CEA, showing that 708 anti-Id MAb induced anti-CEA antibody responses. Similarly, mice immunized with 708 anti-Id MAb could be restimulated in vitro with either CEA or tumour cells expressing CEA which induced specific T-cell proliferative responses. Human tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes isolated from colorectal tumours or peripheral blood T cells from cancer patients were stimulated in vitro with 708 anti-Id MAb or an irrelevant IgG2b antibody. Six days later both sets of lymphocytes were restimulated with CEA, and lymphocytes primed to 708 anti-Id MAb proliferated in response to CEA. These results suggest that 708 anti-Id MAb can act as an idiotypic replica of CEA and stimulate cellular and humoral anti-CEA immune responses. It is therefore of great interest as an idiotypic vaccine against colorectal cancer.