The effect of gallic acid (3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid) and its alkyl esters (methyl, propyl, octyl, and lauryl) has been studied on several tumoral and nontumoral cells. Three types of behavior have been observed; the first type is represented by the mouse B cell lymphoma Wehi 231 cell line in which death occurs according to the biochemical characteristics of classical apoptosis showing the DNA ladder fragmentation pattern. The second type is represented by the mouse fibroblast L929 cell line in which morphological characteristics such as cell shrinkage, chromatin condensation, and appearance of apoptotic bodies can be evidenced by microscopical observation. However, the typical DNA fragmentation is absent. Peripheral blood lymphocytes are representative of a third type of behavior. In a resting state they can withstand higher concentrations of these compounds. If the drug is washed, they proliferate normally upon the addition of the mitogen phytohemagglutinin (PHA). However, if the drug is added in the presence of PHA, a clear antiproliferative effect can be demonstrated. A special interest for these compounds stems from the fact that some of them are currently used as antioxidant food additives with the European Community codes E-310 (propylgallate), E-311 (octylgallate), and E-312 (laurylgallate).