The holding midfielder has been unavailable since the start of October after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty with France.
He was included in Antonio Conte's travelling squad for the Roma game, and had been reported as a possible inclusion.
But ultimately Conte, perhaps with the weekend's title six-pointer with Manchester United in mind, opted against fielding Kante, who does not even get a place on the bench.
The centre of the pitch will be occupied by Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko, with Cesar Azipilicueta and Marcos Alonso operating out wide.
Tuesday's match is a landmark for Fabregas, who makes his 100th Champions League appearance in the Stadio Olimpico.
Alvaro Morata, meanwhile, continues up front despite fielding criticism this week for his sub-par performances and comments that he was not enamoured with life in London.
Roma: Becker; Florenzi, Fazio, Juan Jesus, Kolarov; Nainggolan, De Rossi, Strootman; El Shaarawy, Dzeko, Perotti.
Substitutes: Skorupski, Pellegrini, Moreno, Under, Gonalons, Gerson, Manolas.
Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard.
Substitutes: Caballero, Drinkwater, Kenedy, Zappacosta,Willian, Batshuayi, Christensen.