The rates of endocytosis, intracellular degradation, and cell-surface shedding of 125I-labeled monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) HD-37 (anti- CD19), B1 (anti-CD20), MB-1 (anti-CD37), BC8 (anti-CD45), and DA4–4 (anti-mu) by B-lymphoma cells were compared by cellular radioimmunoassay, ultrastructural autoradiography, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and thin layer chromatography using biopsy specimens from 12 patients with non- Hodgkin's lymphomas. 125I-BC8 was stably retained on the surface of lymphoma cells without appreciable internalization or shedding, whereas 125I-DA4–4 underwent rapid endocytosis and degradation. 125I-B1 was not internalized or degraded by tumor cells, but rapidly dissociated from the cell surface in intact form. Moderate rates of endocytosis, intracellular metabolism, and cell-surface shedding were shown by 125I- HD37 and 125I-MB-1. The 3 patients with diffuse, small cleaved-cell lymphomas internalized and degraded antibodies more slowly than did patients with other histologic subtypes. These kinetic differences may be important in the selection of MoAbs for immunotoxin and radioimmunoconjugate therapy of B-cell malignancies.