Spontaneous mammary tumors in bitches are very similar to those in women, which makes it a good model for comparative studies [14, 16] in terms of diagnostic, prognostic, behavioral, morphological, and biological approaches.
The mixed type, either benign or malignant, is one of the most common mammary gland tumor in bitches [19, 21, 22], unlike humans in which it is uncommon. However, the last ones have a high frequency of salivary gland neoplasia, denominated pleomorphic adenomas [23, 24]. Benign mixed mammary tumors in dogs and pleomorphic adenomas in human salivary glands derive from exocrine glands that present similar architecture, and predominantly occur in females. Such tumors have morphological and molecular similarities which in turn suggests a similar pathogenic mechanism involved in malignant transformation [20, 24].
The cytological examination usually shows that most of the pleomorphic adenomas present groups of epithelial, myoepithelial, and bone tissue cells, as well a chondromyxoid stroma . Similarly, canine mixed mammary tumors may present epithelial, fibroblastic, cartilaginous, bone and rarely hematopoietic components. An acidophilic extracellular material, cell-associated or not, representing osteoid matrix could also be present. In addition, there may be various amounts of erytrocytes, foam cells, basophilic protein material and lipids on background [11, 15, 16, 18–20]. Despite this, it is not common to find all these components in all samples  similarly to those described in this case. However, the representativeness of the lesion was guaranteed by its size and multiple sampling areas, which permits an accurate assessment of all neoplasm cytological components as confirmed later by histological analysis.
According to Allen et al. , during the cytological evaluation three or more architectural and/or nuclear malignancy criteria should be present in order to consider a diagnosis of a malignant tumor. In the present study, cytological evaluation of cell population on Giemsa and Papanicolaou stains did not show any of those criteria thus suggesting a benign tumor. The possibility of malignant transformation was minimal, since representativeness of the tumor mass was guaranteed by a multiple sampling technique.
The presence of one of the three lineages of hematopoietic cells out of the bone marrow is sufficient to characterize EMH [3, 4]. In this case it was seen, apart from osteoclasts, some megakaryocytes, erythrocytes and myeloid lineage cells. These findings are similar to those described by Fernandes et al.,  that observed erythrocytes and megakaryocytes in a benign mixed mammary tumor in a female dog and similar to the histological findings reported by Martinelli et al. , Brooks et al. , Setsu et al. , Cufer and Bracko . Even before histological confirmation, these cells were observed in the cytological examination, which allowed a suggestive diagnosis of benign mixed mammary tumor with a hematopoietic active bone marrow in a very fast and precocious fashion, as demonstrated by Allen et al. , Hellmén and Lindgren , Zuccari et al. , Cassali et al. , Simon et al. . However, cytologic evaluation alone did not permit us to exclude the diagnosis of a possible bone metaplasia or osteosarcoma.
EMH is generally seen in patients with bone marrow and hematological diseases such as chronic anemia, hematopoietic neoplasia, medular hyperplasia, suppurative bacterial infections, or cardiorespiratory conditions [1, 3, 4, 8, 25]. In such scenario, apart from the spleen, liver and lymphnodes, there can be microscopic hematopoietic areas in kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, adrenals, skin, heart, ovaries, epididymides, thymus, peritoneum, meninges and breast in humans [2–8], and choroid plexus and mammary gland in dogs [1, 11].
Several hypothesis has been suggested to explain mammary EMH. Functional disruptions of bone marrow, e.g. drug therapy or myelofibrosis, stimulates circulating stem cells to find a favorable environment and differentiate into hematopoietic cells . Focal lesions such as biopsies or surgeries are able to induce the production of growth factors or cytokines that activate hematopoiesis .
In this case, no biochemical or hematologic changes that could characterize a functional failure of bone marrow were detected, which could result in the production of chemical mediators capable of promoting favorable environment for stem cell implantation. The patient didn't suffer from any other disease, and was not under current drug therapy. No previous surgical manipulation of the mass was attempted. Thus, the pathogenesis of this case shall probably be related to intrinsic factors of the neoplastic process.
As far we know there are no reports in human medicine literature regarding the presence of erythrocytes, myeloids cells, and megakaryocytes in mixed or metaplastic breast tumors, and pleomorphic adenomas. In veterinary medicine there is only one report from Fernandes et al.  that reported the presence of two hematopoietic stem cell lineages in a cytological sample of a benign mixed mammary tumor in a dog. These authors did not describe the occurrence of medullar alterations in their study, making it an incidental finding just like in this case.