This paper generalizes to circular apertures the theoretical study of stellar coronagraphy with prolate apodized rectangular entrance apertures of Aime et al. (2002). The main difference between the two studies is that circular prolate spheroidal functions are used for a circular aperture instead of linear prolate spheroidal functions for rectangular apertures. Owing to the radial property of the problem, the solution to the general equation for coronagraphy is solved using a Hankel transform instead of a product of Fourier transforms in the rectangular case. This new theoretical study permits a better understanding of coronagraphy, stressing the importance of entrance pupil apodization. A comparison with the classical unapodized Lyot technique is performed: a typical gain of 104 to 106 can be obtained theoretically with this technique. Circular and rectangular apertures give overall comparable results: a total extinction of the star light is obtained for Roddier & Roddier's phase mask technique whilst optimal starlight rejections are obtained with a Lyot opaque mask. A precise comparison between a circular aperture and a square aperture of same surface favors the use of a circular aperture for detection of extrasolar planets.