We have examined the expression of specific mucin antigens in tissue sections from 92 cases of colorectal carcinoma, using sulfomucin-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb) 91.9H. The expression of sulfomucins was high in normal mucosae and much lower in primary colorectal carcinoma, in metastatic lesions in lymph nodes or in liver. The intracellular localization of sulfomucins was also different among these tissues. In normal mucosae, MAb 91.9H binding was seen in the supranuclear area, presumably Golgi complexes, the luminal surface, and secretory products. In primary colorectal carcinomas and in their metastatic lesions, MAb 91.9H was preferentially localized in the cell surface and substances attached to the luminal surface of glandular structures. Analysis of the lysates of normal and tumor tissues showed that very-high-molecular-weight components contained the antigenic epitopes. The intensity of MAb 91.9H binding was lower in tumors at advanced stages than in tumors at early stages. These high-molecular-weight components were apparently reactive with MAb FH6 specific for sialyl-Le(X) (s-Le(X) structures. Histological specimens with low levels of MAb 91.9H reactivity often exhibited relatively high levels of MAb FH6 reactivity. These two mucins may have reversed expression during carcinogenesis and carcinoma progression, and this change may be related to metastatic potential.