PERSEE is a french academic, prospective, randomized, controlled and open-label phase 3
study. This trial compares the combination of chemotherapy and pembrolizumab with
pembrolizumab alone as first-line treatment for advanced NSCLC molecularly characterized by a
PDL1 expression level ≥ 50% and no EGFR mutations or ALK rearrangement. This is a strategy
trial whose primary objective is to evaluate the superiority of the
chemotherapy-pembrolizumab combination over pembrolizumab using PFS as the primary endpoint
as evaluated by an independent review committee.
PERSEE trial is planned to include 292 patients treated at approximately 30 GFPC-affiliated
or GFPC-associated centres. After the screening period, patients will be randomized on a 1:1
basis to the Chemotherapy Immunotherapy Arm or the Immunotherapy Arm. Randomization will be
stratified according to tumor histology (squamous versus non squamous) and according to the
presence or absence of brain metastases. Patients enrolled in this study will receive either
of the following treatment regimens:
1. Chemotherapy-Immunotherapy Arm:
Four induction cycles once every 3 weeks associating, on the first day of each cycle:
- Cisplatin 75 mg/m² or carboplatin area under the curve (AUC) 5 mg/mL/min,
pemetrexed 500 mg/m² and pembrolizumab 200 mg for non-squamous NSCLC.
- Carboplatin AUC 6 mg/mL/min, paclitaxel 200 mg/m² and pembrolizumab 200 mg for
After the 4 induction cycles, a maintenance therapy will be possible for patients who
are responding or stable, as follows:
- Non squamous NSCLC: pembrolizumab and pemetrexed combination or either drug as
monotherapy (if toxicity has been identified for one of them).
- Squamous NSCLC: pembrolizumab monotherapy.
For pembrolizumab: treatment may be continued for a maximum of 35 cycles or until
disease progression, death, unacceptable toxicity, or following the Investigator's or
the patient's decision to stop.
For pemetrexed, treatment may be continued until disease progression, death,
unacceptable toxicity, or following the Investigator's or the patient's decision to
2. Immunotherapy Arm:
Pembrolizumab 200 mg once every 3 weeks for a maximum of 35 cycles or until disease
progression, death, unacceptable toxicity, or the Investigator's or the patient's decision to
Evaluations will be performed every 6 weeks (±7 days) during the first 4 cycles in both
treatment arms, then every 9 weeks (±7 days) for the first 12 months since D1 of cycle 1 and
every 12 weeks (±7 days) thereafter.
Evaluations will include: tumor assessment according to RECIST v1.1, survival status,
concomitant medications and AE recording. QoL/PRO questionnaires will be performed at each
cycle for the first 5 cycles in both treatment arms, then every 9 weeks (±7 days) for the
first 12 months since D1 of cycle 1 and every 12 weeks (±7 days) thereafter.
The length of the inclusion period is 36 months (3 years). The total study duration per
patient will be a maximum of two years for the last patients included, and a maximum of five
years for the first patients included (i.e. End-of-study Time Point for surviving patients)
The total study duration includes the following:
- Screening Period: up to 28 days.
- Treatment Period: up to 60 months.
- Post-study Follow up Period: until death or lost to follow-up.
1. Age 18 years or older at diagnosis.
2. Histologically or cytologically confirmed NSCLC.
3. Stage IV NSCLC. Unresectable and non-eligible to radiotherapy stage III NSCLC are
4. For non-squamous NSCLCs and non-smoking squamous NSCLCs, no known activating mutations
of EGFR and no ALK or ROS-1 rearrangements.
5. PD-L1 expression on ≥ 50 % of tumor cells, which will be determined locally.
6. No prior systemic treatment for lung cancer. Patients who received adjuvant therapy
are eligible if the adjuvant therapy was completed at least 12 months prior to the
development of metastatic disease.
7. Palliative radiotherapy completed within one day before randomization (stereotaxic or
not) is authorized.
8. At least 1 target lesion in a non-irradiated area, measurable according to RECIST
9. An Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) ≤1.
10. Life expectancy >12 weeks.
11. Patients with brain metastases at inclusion are accepted, provided that these
metastases are asymptomatic, or symptomatic but treated (surgery or radiotherapy
without or with corticosteroids ≤10 mg/day), and that they are stable on the day of
12. No history of other malignant tumor during the previous 5 years, except for adequately
treated carcinomas (in situ cervical carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell
skin carcinoma) and low grade localized prostate cancer (Gleason <6).
13. Adequate organ function, as demonstrated by laboratory results within 7 days prior to
the first administration of study treatment:
1. Normal hepatic function: bilirubin ≤1.5 x upper limit of normal (ULN), alanine
aminotransferase (ALAT) and aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT) ≤2.5 x ULN or ≤5 x
ULN in case of liver metastases
2. Normal renal function: calculated creatinine clearance (CrCl, using local
formula) of at least 60 mL/min for cisplatin or 45 ml/mn for carboplatin
3. Normal hematological function: absolute neutrophil count ≥1.5 giga/L and/or
platelets ≥100 giga/L, hemoglobin ≥8 g/dL
4. Normal coagulation function: International Normalized Ratio (INR) or prothrombin
time ≤1.5 x ULN and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) ≤1.5 x ULN
unless the patient is receiving anticoagulant therapy.
14. For patients of childbearing potential: use of an adequate method of contraception
during the course of the study through 180 days after the last dose of study treatment
(women of childbearing potential must have a negative serum or urine pregnancy test
within 7 days prior to the first administration of study treatment).
Note: Abstinence is acceptable if this is the usual lifestyle and the patient's
preferred contraception. For male subjects, male condom or abstinence are acceptable.
15. Signed informed consent to participate in the study
16. Affiliation with or benefit from French social security.
Exclusion criteria :
1. NSCLC with expression of PD-L1 <50%.
2. NSCLC with known activating mutation of EGFR or ALK or ROS-1 translocation.
3. Neuroendocrine tumor. In cases of mixed tumors, if small cell elements are present,
the patient is ineligible.
4. Any previous treatment with immunotherapy regardless of the line of treatment.
5. Before the first dose of study treatment:
1. Has received prior systemic treatment for metastatic disease (chemotherapy or
2. Had major surgery <3 weeks prior to first dose.
3. Received radiation therapy to the lung that is >30 Gy within 6 months of the
first dose of study treatment.
6. Uncontrolled and untreated superior cava syndrome.
7. Untreated and unstable symptomatic brain metastases.
8. Leptomeningeal disease.
9. Serious concurrent conditions during the previous 6 months (severe or unstable angina
pectoris, coronary or peripheral artery bypass graft of <6 months, class 3 or 4
congestive heart failure, ischemic stroke, grade ≥2 peripheral neuropathy, psychiatric
or neurological disorders that may interfere with the patient's understanding of the
study or with his/her informed consent.
10. Severe or non controlled systemic diseases deemed incompatible with the protocol.
11. Severe infections within 4 weeks prior to inclusion, including, but not limited to,
hospitalization for complications of infection, bacteremia, or severe pneumonia.
12. Other previous or concomitant cancers, with the exception of basal cell carcinoma,
squamous cell skin carcinoma, in situ cervical carcinoma treated, and low grade
localized prostate cancer (Gleason score <6) if appropriately treated, unless the
initial tumor has been diagnosed and definitively treated >5 years prior to the study,
with no signs of relapse.
13. Psychological, family, social, or geographical factors that may interfere with the
monitoring of the patient as defined by the protocol.
14. Any protected person (legal person protected by legal protection [guardianship,
tutorship], person deprived of liberty, pregnant woman, breastfeeding woman, and
15. Patients who participated in other concomitant studies unless observational and
received study therapy or used an investigational device within 4 weeks prior to start
of study treatment.
16. Known or suspected active autoimmune disease requiring an immunosuppressive therapy
during the previous 6 months (corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive treatment).
Any hormone replacement therapy (i.e. thyroxine [T4], insulin, or replacement systemic
corticosteroids for adrenal or pituitary insufficiency, etc.) is not considered an
immunosuppressive treatment and is authorized. Patients with hyperthyroidism or
hypothyroidism who are stable under hormone replacement therapy may also be included.
17. Chronic use of immunosuppressive drugs and/or corticosteroids (>10 mg of prednisone
daily). However, during the 14 days prior to randomization the use of the following is
1. Corticosteroids as pre treatment for the administration of chemotherapy and/or
for allergies or type IV hypersensitivity responses
2. Daily prednisone (≤10 mg) as replacement therapy
3. Inhaled or topical steroids.
18. Live-virus vaccination within 30 days of planned start of study treatment (seasonal
flu vaccines that do not contain live virus are permitted).
19. Previous allogenic tissue or organ transplant.
20. History of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (positive HIV1/2 antibody test
21. Active hepatitis B or C.
22. Previous history of interstitial lung disease (ILD) or non infectious pneumonia (other
than chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]), requiring oral or systemic
steroids, current pneumonia, or anticipated ILD.
23. Known allergies or adverse reactions to the study drugs or hypersensitivity reaction
to treatment with another monoclonal antibody (mAb).