MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in regulating biological processes at the post-transcriptional level. Deregulation of miRNAs has been observed in cancer, and miRNAs are being investigated as potential biomarkers regarding diagnosis, prognosis and prediction in cancer management. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is commonly used, when measuring miRNA expression. Appropriate normalisation of RT-qPCR data is important to ensure reliable results. The aim of the present study was to identify stably expressed miRNAs applicable as normaliser candidates in future studies of miRNA expression in rectal cancer.