A rat monoclonal antibody, YPC2/38.8, was selected from a panel of antibodies derived by immunising rats with fresh human colorectal carcinoma. It was found to bind to a 30,000 dalton protein present on the cell surface of normal colon and liver. This protein was increased 10-fold on primary hepatocellular carcinoma (PHC) cells. After labelling with /sup 131/I, YPC2/38.8 was shown to localise human PHCs grown as xenografts in immunosuppressed mice. The authors conclude that YPC2/38.8 may have potential for diagnostic localisation and possibly thence for the selective targeting of drugs or toxins in patients with PHC arising in a liver unaffected by significant parenchymal disease. 16 refs.; 4 figs.; 1 table.