We have examined polyphenols as potential inhibitors of UDP-glucose dehydrogenase (UGDH) activity. Gallic acid and quercetin decreased specific activities of UGDH and inhibited the proliferation of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Western blot analysis showed that gallic acid and quercetin did not affect UGDH protein expression, suggesting that UGDH activity is inhibited by polyphenols at the post-translational level. Kinetics studies using human UGDH revealed that gallic acid was a non-competitive inhibitor with respect to UDP-glucose and NAD+. In contrast, quercetin showed a competitive inhibition and a mixed-type inhibition with respect to UDP-glucose and NAD+, respectively. These results indicate that gallic acid and quercetin are effective inhibitors of UGDH that exert strong antiproliferative activity in breast cancer cells.