Breast cancers often have increased mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity; this pathway influences breast cancer cell growth in part by targeting steroid hormone receptors. Activation of p42 and p44 MAPKs increases progesterone receptor (PR) transcriptional activity in the presence of progestins, and triggers their rapid down-regulation by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. In turn, progestins increase the expression of type I growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases that feed into MAPK activation. Most recently, progestins have been shown to activate the p42/p44 MAPK module in a progesterone receptor (PR) dependent manner, but independently of their function as transcription factors. Indeed, mechanisms of bi-directional cross-talk between these two pathways are becoming well-documented. In this reveiw we provide an overview of the primary ways in which steroid hormone receptor and growth factor cross-talk occurs, using examples from our work and others with human PR as a model receptor. We highlight the regulation of PR by phosphorylation and the role of intracellular protein kinases as key mediators of PR action. Cross-talk between growth factor and PR-mediated signaling events is an important means by which growth regulatory genes may be coordinately regulated, and may contribute to the growth and development of hormonally responsive normal breast tissue and to breast cancer progression.