Anthracycline antibiotics are widely used antineoplastic agents and their efficacy for the treatment of various haemopoietic or solid tumours has been well established in clinical practice. Cardiotoxicity is one of the most serious side effects of anthracyclines. The risk of cumulative, life-threatening toxic cardiomyopathy limits their therapeutic potential. In this article, acute, subacute, chronic and late-onset cardiac function impairment associated with anthracycline administration has been characterised. The current views on the methods of detection, pathogenesis and prevention of such toxicity have been reviewed.