The MC-38 C57BL/6 mouse colon adenocarcinoma cell line has been transduced with a retroviral construct containing cDNA encoding the human carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene [Robbins PF, Kantor JA, Salgaller M, Horan Hand P, Fernsten PD, Schlom J (1991) Cancer Res 51: 3657]. Two clones, MC-38-ceal and MC-38-cea2, expressed high levels of CEA on their cell surface. A third CEA-expressing cell line, MCA-102-cea3, was similarly derived by transduction of the MCA-102 C57BL/6 mouse fibrosarcoma cell line and is described here. In this study, the three CEA-transduced murine tumor cell lines (MC-38-ceal, MC-38-cea2, MCA-102-cea3) were evaluated for their tumorigenic potential, as well as their ability to serve as in vivo model systems for active and passive immunotherapy studies. Parameters that were investigated include tumor growth rate, the antibody response of the host to CEA, and the CEA content of the tumors. The MC-38-cea2 model appeared to be the most appropriate for immunotherapy studies. Biodistribution studies, using an 125I-labeled anti-CEA mAb, demonstrated efficient tumor targeting of MC-38-cea2 tumors in C57BL/6 and athymic mice.