Metastasis is one of the cancer hallmarks described by Hanahan and Weinberg. Emerging evidence shows that it requires interplays between cancer cells and micro-environmental biofactors. Indoleamine 3,5-dioxygenase-1 (IDO-1) produced by cancer, local lymph nodes, and satellite cells have been demonstrated as one of the biofactors. Aberrant IDO-1 activity has partially contributed to immunosuppressive environment by repressing T lymphocyte and natural killer cell activities, and activating regulatory T cells (Treg, CD4+CD25+). Clinical investigations further show a negative correlation between the enzyme activity and prognosis in patients with various cancer types. The findings suggest a possible role of IDO-1 inhibitor in restoring host anti-tumor immunity and attenuating cancer metastasis. Data from preclinical and phase I/II clinical studies with IDO-1 inhibitors support this hypothesis. Polyphenols as antioxidants are shown to exhibit anticancer activities. However, the underlying mechanism has not been entirely characterized. We recently found that certain flavone molecules profoundly inhibit the enzymatic activity of IDO-1 but not mRNA expression in human neuronal stem cells (hNSC) confirmed by cell-based assay and qRT-PCR. To further the investigation, we studied additional anti-cancer phytochemicals including chalcone, flavonol, isoflavone, and diterpene. Here we summarize the results and show that the inhibitory sensitivity depends on the molecular structure in the following order: apigenin > wogonin > chrysin > biacalein ~ genistein > quercetin. Curcumin and isoliquiritigenin (a chalcone) exhibited toxicity to hNSCs. Although oridonin (a diterpene) showed a null toxicity toward hNSCs, it repressed the enzymatic function only marginally in contrast to its potent cytotoxicity in various cancer cell lines. While the mode of action of the enzyme-polyphenol complex awaits to be investigated, the sensitivity of enzyme inhibition was compared to the anti-proliferative activities toward three cancer cell lines. The IC50s obtained from both sets of the experiments indicate that they are in the vicinity of micromolar concentration with the enzyme inhibition slightly more active. These results suggest that attenuation of immune suppression via inhibition of IDO-1 enzyme activity may be one of the important mechanisms of polyphenols in chemoprevention or combinatorial cancer therapy.