Currently the use of natural estradiol as estrogenic component in oral contraceptives is more and more extended. It is unknown whether the application of this estrogen is associated with a different breast cancer risk as compared to the common use of the synthetic ethinylestradiol. In addition with the intention to reduce menstruation associated symptoms and bleeding periods an extended-cycle regimen is currently considered. In the present in vitro work, we have compared the effect of these different estrogenic compounds and the different treatment regimens on breast cancer risk. Human breast cancer cells (ZR75-1 and HCC1500) were incubated with equimolar concentrations of estradiol or ethinylestradiol combined with various progestogens, dienogest, drospirenone, keto-desogestrel, levonorgestrel, and nomegestrel. Usual and extended cycle was mimicked by incubation periods of 3 days with 1 day hormones off and 4 days, respectively. Molecular markers for proliferation and apoptosis were investigated by Western blot. In both cell lines estradiol and ethinylestradiol elicited a significant increase in the proliferation rate without difference between the 2 estrogens. The effect in the long-term cycle tended to be more pronounced than in the intermitted cycle. Progestogen addition most significantly reduced the estrogen-induced proliferation rate. The molecular markers were influenced by the progestogens mostly in the same manner, reducing the proliferation/apoptosis rate. Our results indicate that both estrogenic based combinations with progestogens may not increase breast cancer risk independent from the regimen, intermitted or long-term cycle. However clinical studies are necessary to prove these in vitro results.