Labeling of an antibody site specifically through its carbohydrate regions preserves its antigen-binding activity (Rodwell et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 83: 2632, 1986). Previously site-specific labeling studies have conjugated antibodies with metallic radioisotopes or drugs. We now report site-specific labeling with a new radioiodinated compound, 2-hydroxy-5-iodo-3-methylbenzoyl hydrazide, whose synthesis we described earlier (Belinka et al., Biochemistry, 27: 3084, 1988). The compound is reacted with aldehyde groups produced by specific oxidation of the carbohydrate portion of the antibody with sodium m-periodate. Optimized conjugation conditions give good recovery of active antibody containing 10 groups per molecule. The conjugate is stable in solution for at least several weeks at both 4 and -70 degrees C. When injected into nude mice bearing LS174T human cancer xenografts, the conjugate of B72.3 antibody localizes well to tumor tissue, with low uptake by other organs. This biodistribution is similar to that of conjugate prepared by using solid-phase chloramine-T (Iodohead). There are only two significant differences. First, the carbohydrate conjugate is much less susceptible to dehalogenation, and thus shows much less thyroid uptake. Secondly, the biological half-life of the carbohydrate conjugate was about half that of the chloramine-T one. This could be due primarily to lysis of the hydrazine bond through which the antibody is attached to the compound, which would then be excreted rapidly by itself. The new reagent will be especially useful for antibodies which either cannot be labeled by chloramine-T methods, or whose activity is impaired by them.