Metabolic profiling is the unbiased detection and quantification of low molecular-weight metabolites in a living system. It is rapidly developing in biological and translational research, contributing to disease mechanism elucidation, environmental chemical surveillance, biomarker detection, and health outcome prediction. Recent developments in experimental and computational technology allow more and more known metabolites to be detected and quantified from complex samples. As the coverage of the metabolic network improves, it has become feasible to examine metabolic profiling data from a systems perspective, i.e. interpreting the data and performing statistical inference in the context of pathways andgenome-scale metabolic networks. Recently a number of methods have been developed in this area, and much improvement in algorithms and databases are still needed. In this review, we survey some methods for the analysis of metabolic profiling data based on metabolic networks.