The hormone erythropoietin (EPO) has been demonstrated to have cardioprotective properties. The present study investigates the role of EPO to prevent heart failure following cancer treatment with doxorubicin [adriamycin (AD)]. Male Wistar rats (150 ± 10 g) were treated with saline (vehicle control group); with EPO, subcutaneously at 1,000 IU/kg body wt, three times per week for 4 wk (EPO group); with adriamycin, intraperitoneally at 2.5 mg/kg body wt, three times per week for 2 wk (AD group); and with adriamycin and EPO (EPO-AD group). Echocardiographic measurements showed that EPO-AD treatment prevented the AD-induced decline in cardiac function. Each of the hearts was then exposed to ischemia and reperfusion during Langendorff perfusion. The percentage of recovery after ischemia-reperfusion was significantly greater in EPO-AD than the AD-treated group for left ventricular developed pressure, maximal increase in pressure, and rate pressure product. The level of oxidative stress was significantly higher in AD (5 μM for 24 h)-exposed isolated cardiomyocytes; EPO (5 U/ml for 48 h) treatment prevented this. EPO treatment also decreased AD-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis, which was associated with the decrease in the Bax-to-Bcl2 ratio and caspase-3 activation. Immunostaining of myocardial tissue for CD31 showed a significant decrease in the number of capillaries in AD-treated animals. EPO-AD treatment restored the number of capillaries. In conclusion, EPO treatment effectively prevented AD-induced heart failure. The protective effect of EPO was associated with a decreased level of oxidative stress and apoptosis in cardiomyocytes as well as improved myocardial angiogenesis.