A general method is described for the determination of affinity constants and antigen cross-reactivities of monoclonal antibodies. The method employs biotin-labeled antibody, radiolabeled antigen, and avidin as a precipitating agent in a homogeneous phase, competitive radioimmunoassay. This method eliminates incomplete or variable precipitation of antigen-antibody complexes often encountered in immunoassays in which monoclonal antibodies are employed. Using this assay system, we were able to rapidly determine the affinity constants for a number of monoclonal antibodies elicited to carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). In the preceding paper it was shown that five of the monoclonal antibodies recognized distinct epitopes on CEA. In antigen-binding experiments with these five monoclonal antibodies, the percent of radiolabeled CEA bound in antibody excess ranged from 30 to 92%. The CEA cross-reacting antigens, normal cross-reacting antigen (NCA), and tumor-extracted, CEA-related antigen (TEX) were significantly bound by one, and to a lesser degree, by two of the five antibodies. Two antibodies did not bind significant amounts of NCA or TEX. In inhibition studies, the amount of unlabeled CEA leading to 50% inhibition of 125I-labeled CEA-binding was in the range of 3.7 to 760 ng per tube. The amount of TEX showing the same degree of inhibition was 23-fold greater than the amount of CEA for two antibodies and 351-fold greater than the amount of CEA for a third antibody. The affinity constants for CEA were in the range of 1.0 x 10(8) to 5.1 x 10(10) M-1. The affinity constants for NCA and TEX, determined for one of the antibodies, were three orders of magnitude lower in comparison to CEA. The heterogeneity of radiolabeled CEA as indicated by the low fraction bound by one of the monoclonal antibodies is shown to be most probably an artifact resulting from radioiodination damage. The application of the approach described in this report should eliminate the problems most commonly encountered in the determination of affinity constants for monoclonal antibodies or the use of monoclonal antibodies in competitive, homogeneous-phase immunoassays.