We evaluated the immunohistological (IH) characteristics of 22 different antibodies that were submitted for study in the frame of the TD-1 ISOBM Workshop on monoclonal antibodies against CA125. Information on relative affinities and epitope similarities was obtained from a parallel immunochemical study. Antibodies were tested at concentrations of 10 and 1 micrograms/ml on frozen and paraffin sections. Paraffin sections were stained according to the streptavidin-biotin complex protocol, and frozen sections according to a two-step immunoperoxidase technique. Aminoethylcarbazole served as the chromogen. The tissues were from normal proliferative endometrium (formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded) material and clear-cell adenocarcinoma of the ovary (formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded and frozen material). Sections were scored for staining in epithelial cells, basal, apical and diffuse cytoplasmic and in stromal components. Intensity was graded as 1, 2 or 3 for epithelial cells and as -1, -2 or -3 for stroma. The cumulative scores for each antibody expressed the discriminative properties of specific epithelial staining against background. M11 and M11-like antibodies, as well as OC125 and OC125-like antibodies, in general showed good staining results. Although there was a trend for high-affinity antibodies to show higher scores, there was no clear relationship between affinity and staining result. For nine antibodies (ZR45, MA602-1, K102, K94, K90, OV185, K97, K96, OV198), the reactions in paraffin and frozen sections were of similar intensity. Most of these were of low affinity with one exception: antibody ZR45, a rat monoclonal antibody (MAb) which had a high relative affinity. For eight antibodies (M11, K101, MA602-6, ZS33, B27.1, B43.13, K93, OC125), a loss of specific staining was observed in frozen sections. All but two of these antibodies (MA602-6 and OC125) were of high relative affinity. With four antibodies (K91, ZR38, K95, K100), the reverse situation was observed. One (K100) was of low affinity, two (K95 and K91) of high affinity and the fourth (ZR38) was a rat MAb of high affinity. Mainly due to the increased cytoplasmic staining in carcinoma, the reactivity in paraffin sections was less extensive in normal endometrium compared to ovarian carcinoma for the majority of antibodies, irrespective of their affinity or epitope group. The IH characterization of these antibodies may be of help in selecting antibodies with specific properties for further comparative studies. The reactivity of normal endometrium with all useful antibodies makes it a good candidate for standard external IH tissue control.