With pretargeting, radioisotope delivery to tumor is decoupled from the long antibody localization process, and this can increase tumor:blood ratios dramatically. Several reagents were prepared for each step of a "two-step" pretargeting method, and their properties were investigated. For pretargeting tumor, streptavidin-monoclonal antibody (StAv-mab) conjugates were prepared by cross-linking sulfo-SMCC-derivatized streptavidin to a free thiol (SH) group on MN-14 [a high-affinity anti-carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) mab]. Thiolated mabs were generated either by reaction of 2-iminothiolane (2-IT) with mab lysine residues or by reduction of mab disulfide bonds with (2-mercaptoethyl)amine (MEA). Both procedures gave protein-protein conjugates isolated in relatively low yields (20-25%) after preparative size-exclusion (SE) chromatography purification with conservative peak collection. Both StAv-MN-14 conjugates retained their ability to bind to CEA, to an anti-idiotypic antibody to MN-14 (WI2), and to biotin, as demonstrated by SE-HPLC. Two clearing agents, WI2 mab and a biotin-human serum albumin (biotin-HSA) conjugate, were developed to remove excess circulating StAv-MN-14 conjugates in animals. Both clearing proteins were also modified with galactose residues, introduced using an activated thioimidate derivative, to produce clearing agents which would clear rapidly and clear primary mab rapidly. At least 14 galactose residues on WI2 were required to reduce blood levels to 5.9 +/- 0.7% ID/g in 1 h. Faster blood clearance (0.7 +/- 0.2% ID/g) was observed in 1 h using 44 galactose units per WI2. For the delivery of radioisotope to tumor, several biotinylated conjugates consisting of biotin, a linker, and a chelate were prepared. Conjugates showed good in vitro and in vivo stability when D-amino acid peptides were used as linkers, biotin-peptide-DOTA-indium-111 had a slightly longer blood circulation time (0.09 +/- 0.02% ID/g in 1 h) than biotin-peptide-DTPA-indium-111 (0.05 +/- 0.03% ID/g in 1 h) in nude mice. A longer circulation time with the neutral DOTA complex might allow higher tumor uptake.