UNLABELLED The development of an effective radiopharmaceutical with affinity for malignant melanoma has been a research goal for some time. The early detection of melanoma metastases would greatly improve the therapy outcome for this disease. This article describes the synthesis of radioiodinated IMBA, N-(2-diethylaminoethyl)-3-[123I/131I]iodo-4-methoxybenzamide 8, its organ distribution, its comparison with BZA and other benzamides, and demonstrates the scintigraphic efficacy of the title compound with three melanoma patients. METHODS The syntheses and radioiodination of eight benzamide derivatives are described. After intravenous injection into C57B16-mice subcutaneously transplanted with B16 melanoma, the organ distribution of the respective benzamides were investigated at 1 and 6 hr. n-octanol/phosphate buffer partition coefficients. The wholebody retention, erythrocyte and serum protein bound fractions of radioiodinated benzamides were measured. RESULTS While structural changes in the amide substituents of N-(2-dialkylaminoalkyl)-4-iodobenzamides 2-7 resulted in no improvement in organ distribution compared with BZA, the 3-iodo-4-methoxyphenyl form of IMBA showed high melanoma uptake with significantly higher melanoma/nontarget tissue ratios. Compared with BZA the average ratio improved after 1 hr by a factor of eight and was still four times better after 6 hr. BZA and IMBA exhibit almost identical n-octanol/ phosphate buffer partition coefficients, however, IMBA has a faster urinary excretion facilitated by a lower affinity to erythrocytes and serum proteins; this could explain the improved tissue partinioning observed. Scintigraphy of patients with melanoma metastases confirmed the promising characteristics derived from the animal studies. CONCLUSION Due to rapid background clearance and high melanoma affinity, IMBA showed high tumor contrast already at 4 hr after injection which makes it a promising new radiopharmaceutical for the scintigraphic detection of melanoma metastases.