In order to examine a role of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in metastasis, cDNA encoding CEA was introduced into a clone of human colorectal carcinoma SW1222 cells. Western blot analysis revealed that all transfectants express CEA of 180 kDa while the parent clone does not. In the transfectants, the level of CEA expression in clone 3 was higher than that of clone 1. Clone 3 formed aggregates rapidly after suspended by trypsinization while clone 1 did not. In experimental metastasis assay where tumor cells were injected intrasplenically, clone 3 exhibited a higher liver-metastatic activity than clone 1. Fab fragment of anti-CEA antibody significantly inhibited both the cell aggregation and the liver metastases caused by clone 3. These findings suggested that CEA expressed on the cell surface may play an important role in hepatic metastasis from colorectal carcinoma, possibly through its cell adhesion activity.