Gastric cancer (GC) is the fifth most common type of malignancy and the third leading cause of cancer-associated mortality worldwide. It is necessary to identify novel methods aimed at improving the early diagnosis and treatment of GC. MicroRNA expression profiles in the plasma of patients with GC have demonstrated a potential use in the opportune diagnosis of this neoplasm. However, there are currently no standardized targets for use in the normalization of microRNA Cq values for different neoplasms. The present study tested two normalization approaches while analyzing plasma derived from patients with GC and non-atrophic gastritis. The first method utilized a panel of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) and a small nuclear RNA (snRNA) provided by a commercial array. The second normalization approach involved the use of hsa-miR-18a-5p and hsa-miR-29a-3p, which were identified by a stability analysis of the samples being tested. The results revealed that the snoRNAs and snRNA were not expressed in all samples tested. Only the stable microRNAs allowed a narrow distribution of the data and enabled the identification of specific downregulation of hsa-miR-200c-3p and hsa-miR-26b-5p in patients with GC. hsa-miR-200c-3p and hsa-miR-26b-5p have been previously linked to cancer, and a Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes analysis demonstrated that these microRNAs were associated with cell adhesion, cell cycle and cancer pathways.