90Yttrium-labeled monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are likely to be important to radioimmunotherapy (RAIT) of a variety of cancers. The goal of this study was to select and evaluate a form of [90Y]mAb suitable for RAIT and determine conditions for high-yield, reproducible radiolabelings. 90Y-Labelings, at 2-40 mCi levels, of cdr-grafted versions of anti-B-cell lymphoma (hLL2) and anti-CEA (hIMMU-14) mAbs were optimized to >90% incorporations using the macrocyclic chelator DOTA as the metal carrier. In in vitro challenge assays, the stability of mAbs labeled with [90Y]DOTA was better than that of the corresponding [90Y]benzyl-DTPA conjugates. The retention of [90Y]DOTA-hLL2 on Raji tumor cells in vitro was similar to that of the same mAb labeled with [90Y]benzyl-DTPA and was about twice as much as with [125I]hLL2, indicating residualization of metalated mAb. Both [90Y]hLL2 conjugates, prepared using DOTA and Bz-DTPA, had similar maximum tolerated doses of 125 muCi in BALB/c mice and showed no discernible chelator-induced immune responses. Animal biodistribution studies in nude mice bearing Ramos human B-cell lymphoma xenografts revealed similar tumor and tissue uptake over a 10 day period, with the exception of bone uptake which was up to 50% lower for [88Y]DOTA-hLL2 compared to [88Y]Bz-DTPA-hLL2 at time points beyond 24 h. With [90Y]DOTA-hLL2 fragments, in vivo animal tumor dosimetries were inferior to those for the IgG, and kidney uptake was relatively high even with D-lysine administration. The ability of [111In]DOTA-hLL2 to accurately predict [90Y]DOTA-hLL2 biodistribution was established. These preclinical findings demonstrate that [90Y]DOTA-(CDR-grafted) mAbs are suitable for examination in clinical RAIT.