The genes for the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) subunits SDHA, SDHB, SDHC and SDHD are encoded in the autosome. The proteins are assembled in the mitochondria to form the mitochondrial complex 2, a key respiratory enzyme which links the Krebs cycle and the electron transport chain. Thirty percent of phaeochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PHEO/PGL) are hereditary and perhaps as many as half of these familial cases are caused by germline mutations of the SDH subunits. Negative immunohistochemical staining for the SDHB subunit identifies PHEO/PGL associated with germline mutation of any of the mitochondrial complex 2 components and can be used to triage formal genetic testing of all PHEO/PGL for SDH mutations. PHEO/PGL associated with SDHA mutation also show negative staining for SDHA as well as SDHB.A unique subgroup of gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) are driven by mitochondrial complex 2 dysfunction. These SDH deficient GISTs can also be definitively identified by negative staining for SDHB and show distinct clinical and morphological features including frequent onset in childhood and young adulthood, gastric location, a tendency to multifocality, absence of KIT and PDGFRA mutations, a prognosis not predicted by size and mitotic rate and a tendency to indolent behaviour of metastases. Some of these SDH deficient GISTs are driven by classical SDH mutations, but the precise mechanisms of tumourigenesis in many (including those associated with the Carney triad) remain unknown. Germline SDHB mutation is associated with a newly recognised type of renal carcinoma which commonly but not always demonstrates distinctive morphology and can also be recognised by negative staining for SDHB.Immunohistochemistry for SDHB therefore has emerged as a useful tool to recognise these distinct neoplasias driven by mitochondrial complex 2 dysfunction and to triage formal genetic testing for the associated syndromes.