Benzene is an established cause of leukemia, and possibly lymphoma, in humans, but the underlying molecular pathways remain largely undetermined. We used two microarray platforms to identify global gene expression changes associated with well-characterized occupational benzene exposure in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of a population of shoe-factory workers. Differential expression of 2692 genes (Affymetrix) and 1828 genes (Illumina) was found and the concordance was 50% (based on an average fold-change > or =1.3 from the two platforms), with similar expression ratios among the concordant genes. Four genes (CXCL16, ZNF331, JUN and PF4), which we previously identified by microarray and confirmed by real-time PCR, were among the top 100 genes identified by both platforms in the current study. Gene ontology analysis showed overrepresentation of genes involved in apoptosis among the concordant genes while pathway analysis identified pathways related to lipid metabolism. The two-platform approach allows for robust changes in the PBMC transcriptome of benzene-exposed individuals to be identified.