Mouse cell lines transfected with carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and with 2 other members of the human CEA gene family, non-specific cross-reacting antigen (NCA) and biliary glycoprotein (BGP), were used to analyze the specificity of several monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). MAbs COL-1 and COL-6 were shown to react with the transfected CEA gene product but not with NCA, confirming previous results. Cells expressing the transfected BGP gene product also failed to react with COL-1 and COL-6. The MAb B6.2 reacted with cells expressing the NCA gene product but not with those expressing CEA or BGP. The MAb B1.1 reacted strongly with the transfected CEA and BGP gene products but only weakly with the NCA gene product. These antibodies were then utilized in the histochemical analysis of a number of primary and secondary breast and lung tumors. The results indicate that a majority of breast and lung tumors express CEA, and nearly all breast and lung tumors express NCA. Fairly homogeneous expression of CEA and NCA was seen in the majority of both breast and lung tumors. Our results indicate that CEA may be an important target for immunotherapy in a large number of patients with breast and lung tumors.