The purpose of this study was to define the role of tissue and flow myocardial performance index (MPI) measured during dobutamine stress and tissue Doppler echocardiography in the early diagnosis of late cardiotoxicity among patients with childhood cancer treated with anthracycline. The study included 20 patients (14 male and 6 female; mean age 18.4 +/- A 3.2 years) as the study group and 18 healthy volunteers (14 female and 4 male, mean age: 19.2 +/- 4.0) as the control group. The mean cumulative dose of anthracycline treatment was 282.1 +/- A 125.9 mg/m(2), and the mean time period after the last dose of anthracycline was 10.2 +/- A 4.0 years. Echocardiography was performed during rest and at infusions of 5, 10, 15, and 20 mu/kg/min dobutamine. Although only isovolumetric relaxation and contraction times of the patient group were prolonged at rest, dobutamine infusion showed significant differences in % left ventricle (LV) posterior wall thickening, LV end-systolic wall stress, LV diastolic and systolic diameter, mitral acceleration, and deceleration time in the patient group compared with the control group. Tissue and flow MPI of the LV, tissue MPI of the right ventricle (RV), and interventricular septum of the patient group were higher than the control group throughout the test. LV tissue MPI increased much more than LV flow MPI when stress was increased. In conclusion, LV tissue MPI value during stress is more valuable than LV flow MPI in the early diagnosis of late cardiotoxicity. RV function can be assessed by tissue Doppler MPI.