Monoclonal antibodies were raised against yttrium(III)-1, 4, 7, 10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N',N''N'''--tetraacetic acid (Y-DOTA) and copper(II)-1, 4, 8, 11-tetraazacyclotetradecane-N,N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid (Cu-TETA). Four hybridomas with high Y-DOTA binding activity and one hybridoma with Cu-TETA activity were selected. MAbs were purified from mouse ascites by Protein A affinity chromatography and characterized. Affinity constants were determined by equilibrium dialysis and the highest affinity Y-DOTA MAb (K(aff) = 1.9 x 10(8) M(-1)) was further characterized by competitive ELISA. Gd-DOTA competed as well as Y-DOTA, whereas In-DOTA required 740x higher concentrations for 50% inhibition of this Y-DOTA MAb binding to human serum albumin-Y-DOTA-coated microtiter plates. These anti-metal chelate MAbs have potential use as vehicles for the pretargeted delivery of radiometal chelates to tumors.