Respiratory papillomas, caused by human papillomaviruses, are benign tumors that recur following removal. We evaluated immune function and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) phenotype and expression in these patients. MHC-independent immune function appeared normal. The frequency of peripheral blood MHC class II phenotypes was highly enriched for DQ3 and DR11, one split of DR5. Class I MHC antigen expression on papilloma tissue was markedly reduced. Together, these phenomena may facilitate papillomavirus evasion of the cellular immune response.