Harvard Catalyst Profiles

Contact, publication, and social network information about Harvard faculty and fellows.

Hester Zijlstra, M.Sc.


Available: 01/10/22, Expires: 12/01/22

Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most diagnosed hematologic malignancy in the western world. It is a malignant disease, characterized by monoclonal plasma cell proliferation in the bone marrow, leading to the production of nonfunctional immunoglobulins or immunoglobulin chains. In 60-90% of the cases, the malignant plasma cell proliferations in the bone marrow cause (often symptomatic) lytic bone lesions and/or diffuse osteopenia. These osteolytic processes lead to an increased risk of pathologic fracture and severe pain with negative impact on quality of life. While chemotherapy remains the mainstay of myeloma treatment, radiation therapy (RT) has an important role in palliation of symptoms, management of osteolytic lesions and prophylaxis against spinal cord compression (SCC). Multiple papers have described fair tolerability of treatment, high rates of pain relief and substantial effectiveness of RT for SCC in terms of local control and functional outcomes. However, these results were mainly based on low-grade SCC. Little pertinent data is available on MM-patients treated with radiotherapy for high-grade SCC. Surgical treatments for VCFs are percutaneous vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty and spinal fusion. Because of these bone lesions, we hypothesize that multiple myeloma patients are more susceptible for complications like loosening of implants with or without hyperkyphosis, screws pulling out and fractures of subsequent vertebrae. Though some authors describe complications after surgery in myeloma patients, a clear overview of the incidence and risk factors of complications is missing. Project goal/research goals: 1. Implant- and hardware complications after spinal surgery in Multiple myeloma patients, a case series 2. Can Multiple myeloma patients with severe spinal cord compression be successfully treated with radiation therapy? 3. Recalcification rate of lytic bone lesions in Multiple myeloma patients undergoing radiation therapy. (other questions also possible) Method: The studies are all retrospective cohort studies, so it will involve retrospective data collection and analysis of imaging. Learning opportunities: - Gaining detailed knowledge of Multiple Myeloma - Learning the basics of spine surgery and radiotherapy - Learning how to evaluate a spine x-ray and/or CT-scan - Learning the basics of python coding - Each week we have a journal club on Monday and a research meeting with the PI dr. J.H. Schwab, MD MS (Associate professor and Chief of the Orthopaedic Spine Surgery, MGH) on Tuesday, which is a great learning opportunity. Potential role for student: Depending on the learning goals of the student. We can make a project based on the skills and wishes of the student. During the internship the student will be actively supervised and can be involved in various aspects of scientific research, including data collection, coding with Python, static analyses and scientific writing. With sufficient contribution, the student will earn authorship on the paper when it's published (possible first authorship) Prior skills needed: - Again, depending on the learning goals of the student. When the student wishes to participate in writing the article, prior experience with scientific writing is desirable - Proficiency of the English language - In case the student has programming skills, he/she can get specific tasks adjusted to those skills

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
Newest   |   Oldest   |   Most Cited   |   Most Discussed   |   Timeline   |   Field Summary   |   Plain Text
PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
  1. Yen HK, Hu MH, Zijlstra H, Groot OQ, Hsieh HC, Yang JJ, Karhade AV, Chen PC, Chen YH, Huang PH, Chen YH, Xiao FR, Verlaan JJ, Schwab JH, Yang RS, Yang SH, Lin WH, Hsu FM. Prognostic significance of lab data and performance comparison by validating survival prediction models for patients with spinal metastases after radiotherapy. Radiother Oncol. 2022 10; 175:159-166. PMID: 36067909.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  2. Groot OQ, van Steijn NJ, Ogink PT, Pierik RJ, Bongers MER, Zijlstra H, de Groot TM, An TJ, Rabinov JD, Verlaan JJ, Schwab JH. Preoperative embolization in surgical treatment of spinal metastases originating from non-hypervascular primary tumors: a propensity score matched study using 495 patients. Spine J. 2022 08; 22(8):1334-1344. PMID: 35263662.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  3. Stoop N, Zijlstra H, Ponds NHM, Wolterbeek N, Delawi D, Kempen DHR. Long-term quality of life outcome after spondylodiscitis treatment. Spine J. 2021 12; 21(12):1985-1992. PMID: 34174437.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  4. Zijlstra H, Wolterbeek N, Drost RW, Koene HR, van der Woude HJ, Terpstra WE, Delawi D, Kempen DHR. Identifying predictive factors for vertebral collapse fractures in multiple myeloma patients. Spine J. 2020 11; 20(11):1832-1839. PMID: 32673729.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
Local representatives can answer questions about the Profiles website or help with editing a profile or issues with profile data. For assistance with this profile: HMS/HSDM faculty should contact contactcatalyst.harvard.edu. For faculty or fellow appointment updates and changes, please ask your appointing department to contact HMS. For fellow personal and demographic information, contact HMS Human Resources at human_resourceshms.harvard.edu. For faculty personal and demographic information, contact HMS Office for Faculty Affairs at facappthms.harvard.edu.
Zijlstra's Networks
Click the
buttons for more information and interactive visualizations!
Concepts (29)
Co-Authors (7)
Similar People (60)
Same Department 
Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.