Type II DNA topoisomerase activity is required to change DNA topology. It is important in the relaxation of DNA supercoils generated by cellular processes, such as transcription and replication, and it is essential for the condensation of chromosomes and their segregation during mitosis. In mammals this activity is derived from at least two isoforms, termed DNA topoisomerase II alpha and beta. The alpha isoform is involved in chromosome condensation and segregation, whereas the role of the beta isoform is not yet clear. DNA topoisomerase II beta was first reported in 1987. Here we review the research on DNA topoisomerase II beta over the last 10 years.