Bacteria of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia have been isolated with increasing frequency from the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, usually following P. aeruginosa infections, but their adherence to human epithelial respiratory cells has never been investigated. In this study, various S. maltophilia strains were seen to adhere to epithelial respiratory cells in vitro, mainly along intercellular junctions. Bacteria could also enter into host cells, as determined by the gentamicin exclusion assay and transmission electron microscopy. Cells co-incubated with P. aeruginosa and S. maltophilia exhibited a significantly decreased adherence of these latter bacteria. No decrease in S. maltophilia adherence was observed when co-infection was carried out with heat-killed P. aeruginosa or when respiratory cells were first incubated with P. aeruginosa, before incubation with S. maltophilia. Our data suggest that P. aeruginosa infections do not account for the increased prevalence of S. maltophilia in CF patient airways, that thermolabile products from P. aeruginosa can control the adherence of S. maltophilia to respiratory cells and also that these two bacteria do not compete for cell receptors.