The value of measurements of eicosanoids in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) for the evaluation of childhood asthma is still inconclusive most likely because of the limited value of the methods used. In this case-control study in 48 asthmatic and 20 healthy children, we aimed to characterize the baseline profile of the inflammatory mediators cysteinyl leukotrienes (cysLTs), 9(alpha)11(beta)PGF(2), PGE(2), PGF(2alpha), 8-isoprostane (8-iso-PGF(2alpha)) within EBC in asthmatic compared with healthy children using new methods. In addition, we investigated their relation to other inflammatory markers. The assessment included collection of EBC, measurement of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FE(NO)) and evaluation of urinary excretion of leukotriene E(4.) cysLTs were measured directly in EBC by radioimmunoassay and prostanoids were measured using gas chromatography negative-ion chemical ionization mass spectrometry. Only cysLT levels were significantly higher in asthmatic compared with healthy children (p = 0.002). No significant differences in cysLTs were found between steroid naïve and patients receiving inhaled corticosteroids. In contrast, FE(NO) was significantly higher in steroid naïve compared with steroid-treated asthmatic and healthy children (p = 0.04 and 0.024, respectively). The diagnostic accuracy of cysLTs in EBC for asthma was 73.6% for the whole group and 78.2% for steroid-naïve asthmatic children. The accuracy to classify asthmatic for FE(NO) was poor (62.9%) for the whole group, but improved to 79.9% when only steroid-naïve asthmatic children were taken into consideration. cysLTs in EBC is an inflammatory marker which distinguishes asthmatics, as a whole group, from healthy children.